In December 2019, the Waitangi Tribunal released their report on the Hauraki Settlement Overlapping Claims Inquiry. The Tribunal found that the Crown:
- Acted inconsistently with the Treaty principles of partnership and active protection;
- Had failed in its duties to act honourably and in good faith, and to avoid creating fresh grievances; and
- Failed in its obligation to protect or preserve amicable tribal relationships.
As a result, the Tribunal found that the Crown had prejudicially affected Ngātiwai and recommended that:
- the legislation giving effect to the Pare Hauraki Collective Settlement Deed, and the individual Hauraki iwi settlement deeds, do not proceed until the contented redress items have been through a proper overlapping claims tikanga-based process; and
- that the Crown, when undertaking such a process, fully commits to and facilitates consultation, information-sharing, and the use of tikanga-based resolution processes that reflect the principles identified by the Tribunal.
Since the beginning of the year we have been actively communicating with all parties including the Crown and Hauraki groups. A letter was sent to the Prime Minister in January where we sought assurance that the Tribunals recommendations would be followed. We also requested full Disclosure of all Current Overlapping Redress. We received a response from the Minister in February confirming that he does not intend to progress Hauraki settlement legislation and that his strong preference is to support and encourage iwi-led tikanga-based engagement on the disputed redress.
During March we went into the COVID-19 lockdown and as a result refocused our attention on our response to the pandemic and supporting our people. However, we did manage to keep abreast of Zoom hui taking place between Hauraki groups and Ngāti Manuhiri which resulted in a kanohi ki te kanohi hui after COVID-19 travel restrictions were relaxed. Ngāti Manuhiri have indicated that they are confident to get to resolution of their issues shortly.
In May the Board resumed all pre-COVID workflows and have written to all the Hauraki groups individually to outline our proposal for how a tikanga process could be advanced in a manner that affirms the mana of all parties. Briefly the proposal includes bringing our tikanga tohunga (experts) together to co-design the process before we engage each other on the disputed redress.