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 honorably and in good faith, and to avoid creating fresh grievances; and
- failed in its obligations 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, does not proceed until the contested redress items have been through a proper overlapping claims process; and
- that the Crown, when undertaking overlapping engagement processes during settlement negotiations, 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 the Board has been actively communicating with all parties including the Crown and Hauraki groups. A letter was sent to the Prime Minister in January 2020 where we sought assurance that the Tribunals recommendations would be followed. We also requested full disclosure of all current overlapping redress (see map of Hauraki redress). We received a response from the Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister in February 2020 confirming that he does not intend to progress Hauraki settlement legislation and his strong preference is to support and encourage iwi-led tikanga-based engagement on the disputed redress.
In the last couple of months the Board has been meeting with our Kāhui Kaumātua and our tikanga experts to debrief them on the Tribunals findings and recommendations and to seek their advice and support.
The Board has also been reaching out to all of the Hauraki groups individually, to bring our tikanga experts together to co-design the tikanga process as was recommended by the Tribunal. While hampered somewhat by the COVID-19 lock-downs, the Board has managed to have a follow up hui with Ngāti Paoa who was one of the few iwi who came North to meet with us in May 2018 at Whananaki Marae. A further invitation has gone out to Hako, the other Hauraki iwi who came to meet with us in May 2018.
The Board acknowledge Ngāti Paoa for their genuine intent to engage with us, to share kōrero around our concerns and to try and resolve these. Ngātiwai do so with the same intent, so the matters can be mutually agreed and Ngāti Paoa can continue on their Treaty Settlement journey without any significant delay.
As there are seven Hauraki iwi or collectives to work through, this is likely to be ongoing
mahi for some time.
The Board has also been meeting with Te Arawhiti (Crown officials) to discuss the Tribunal\’s report and findings, and in particular the Board felt an apology should be given to Ngātiwai for the terrible process and trauma that Ngātiwai had been put through, and that Te Arawhiti consider refunding Ngātiwai costs for participating in the urgent hearings in Wellington in 2018 as a measure of goodwill.
The different types of redress in dispute was also discussed that we are seeking to resolve, and if there was any flexibility from the Crown to provide alternate redress to
Hauraki groups should the tikanga based process lead to this possibility.