Treaty Update – Date to be confirmed to complete urgent hearings

Last week the Waitangi Tribunal held hearings requested by claimants challenging the Crown’s decision to recognise the Ngātiwai Trust Board’s (NTB) Deed of Mandate (DoM). 

It was a long 3 days with a substantive amount of cross-examinations of claimants, the Crown and the NTB.  However after three days of hearings this process was not completed due to the amount korero that was had.

Only Chairman Haydn Edmonds was able to have time in the witness stand on behalf of the NTB.  The other 4 witnesses – Kristan MacDonald, Tania McPherson, Keir Volkerling and Sharyn Mahanga were unable to take the stand due to time constraints, therefore the hearings were not completed in the time allocated.  Judge Reeves advised that more time will need to be allocated to allow the final witnesses their time to complete the hearings.

It has been agreed that Mr Volkeriling and Ms Mahanga would be able to cross-examined in writing, with parties directed to submit any questions to the Tribunal by 4pm, Friday 14 October 2016.  Mr Volkerling and Ms Mahanga are then required to respond in writing by 4pm 21 October 2016.

Judge Reeves has indicated that further hearing time would be needed for the cross-examination of Mr MacDonald and Ms McPherson.  Counsels have been directed to make submissions on how much further hearing time will be required to cross-examine these witness by 4pm, Friday 14 October 2016.  Once Judge Reeves receives these submissions, she will make a decision as to how much further hearing time will need to be allocated.

Judge Reeves has made all parties aware that any further hearing time will be held in Wellington, in the Waitangi Tribunal Offices.  Initial indications are that there is a potential gap in the Tribunal hearings at the end of November which could be possibly allocated to complete the Ngātiwai Hearings, but this is to be confirmed.

Chairman Haydn Edmonds says “the Ngātiwai Trust Board fully respects the right of the claimants that have gone through this process and I am hopeful that once completed we can come together as Te iwi O Ngātiwai and work together through this Treaty Claims pathway that the Trust Board has established for the iwi.

“It is our rich whakapapa that gives us character.  We need to lift as one so that our iwi survives the ravages of separation being heaped upon us through these Crown processes.
“I do not believe that these claims are about Ngātiwai versus Ngātiwai.  My fight is, and has always been, with the Crown, not our whanau.

“Hapū rangatiratanga is important and we are hearing what the whanau are saying.  The mandate clearly includes hapū, marae, kaumātua and all our whanau in this process,  with changes and amendments having already been implemented to the DoM as a direct result of hui over the last two years. 
“However there is still wriggle room to develop and improve on these mandate process and mechanisms over time as and when we – the Ngātiwai people – identify better ways of doing things.

“The Board is only a vehicle that can carry us all into negotiations with the Crown, and the outcome of those negotiations must benefit us all in the 21st century.  It will not be the Ngātiwai Trust Board who handles and manages the putea and resources we get back from the Crown as part of any settlement.  That will be the new Post Settlement Governance Entity (PSGE), and what that looks like is up to the uri of Ngātiwai to decide
“The Ngātiwai future is bright and the pathway is through kotahitanga.”

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