Crown awaiting new mandate proposals from Ngāpuhi

updated By Te Ao - Māori News

Treaty Minister Andrew Little was in the North today for an open-invitation hui with Ngāpuhi. This follows his advice earlier this week that the Crown had decided to "discontinue" recognition of Tūhoronuku's mandate to represent Ngāpuhi in treaty negotiations, saying the Crown cannot be confident the authority has maintained its mandate.

At today's hui, the minister invited NZ's largest iwi to submit collective mandate proposals for settling all historical grievances by May 2020. Minister Little also invited proposals from takiwā groupings to negotiate takiwā-specific cultural redress packages by March 2020.

“The starting point is to hear from hapū, to hear from taiwhenua how they want to approach it, both the localised issues and the common issues that run right across Ngāpuhi,” Minister Little says.

“We need to be working together on this, not just having whatever structure imposed from the top. That's the big difference,” he says.

More than 300 people from across Ngāpuhi hapū were present at the hui held at Waitangi to listen to the Crown’s mandate proposal process.

The Crown is instructing us as Ngāpuhi to unite as if there are problems, Ngāpuhi is not the problem, Ned Peita from Ngāti Te Tarawa says.

The problem is the argument from the Crown always telling us how we should unite, what we should do to mandate. Come and talk to us on our marae, where we sort these issues out and establish our mandates, Peita says.

Pita Tipene of Ngāti Hine told Te Ao that the minister should not go around telling Ngāpuhi that they have only one bag and all the settlement money is going in that bag, that is not supporting our people.

If the minister is serious about starting again then he needs to make sure the start is correct and fair, Tipene says.

In an open letter to Ngāpuhi on 4 December, Minister Little and Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta signalled a fresh start was needed and invited Ngāpuhi to propose a new mandate to negotiate a collective settlement package.

'We have considered that TIMA's [Tūhoronuku Independent Mandated Authority's] mandate to represent all of Ngāpuhi and have concluded that we cannot be confident that TIMA has maintained that mandate. The conditions placed on the mandate have not been met," the ministers said.

"We have therefore decided to discontinue the Crown's recognition of the TIMA mandate as it no longer provides for the kind of opportunities that Ngāpuhi have told us that they are seeking.

"We believe it is time for a fresh approach that provides an overall plan for Ngāpuhi treaty settlement negotiations."

In their letter, the ministers also invited proposals from takiwā groupings within Ngāpuhi regarding how their specific claims for cultural redress should be negotiated. 

"We recognise that takiwā wish to negotiate on area-specific matters, including the return of whenua, that are most important to them.

"We invite proposals for takiwā groupings to negotiate takiwā-specific cultural redress packages by March 2020. Takiwā packages will cover cultural, apology and whenua-specific redress."  

However, the ministers said there are some issues common to all of Ngāpuhi that need to be negotiated collectively.  

"We consider there are common issues across Ngāpuhi that must be negotiated collectively with the Crown. These include settlement quantum (the Crown will only make one quantum offer to Ngāpuhi), He Whakaputanga, social issues, te reo Māori, and natural resources address," the ministers said in their letter.

More information about the collective and takiwā-specific mandate proposals were to be made available at today's hui by the ministers.