Dispute over Ngāti Wai mandate

By Dean Nathan

The mandate to settle Ngāti Wai treaty claims is the subject of an urgent hearing of the Waitangi Tribunal this week. The hearing relates to claims lodged by 10 groups who oppose the government's decision to recognise Ngāti Wai Trust Board's mandate to negotiate claims on behalf of the iwi.

Claimant Huhana Lyndon says, “I believe the claimant families and hapū should lead the settlement of our Ngāti Wai claims.”

According to the 2013 census, a total of 5,667 people identified themselves as being of Ngāti Wai descent. Under the mandate, the Crown accepted that there is no solid recognition for hapū.

Today’s urgent hearing gives both the Crown and claimants the opportunity to cross-examine each other's evidence. Nearly a year has passed since the Crown recognised the mandate of the Ngāti Wai Trust Board to settle the tribe's claims.

Lyndon says, “To me, I am totally Ngāti Wai but the time has come where we need to fully deliberate the way forward on these issues.”

This urgent hearing wraps up on Thursday.