Māori Lawyer says treaty claim process flawed for Ngāpuhi

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Māori lawyer, Te Kani Williams says the process to settle Ngāpuhi's treaty claim is flawed. This follows Prime Minister Bill English's decision to withdraw the government from the tribe's treaty settlement process.

Williams says the Crown's mandating process to settle Ngāpuhi's claim isn't working.

"Firstly the Crown's process is wrong, but secondly the spokespeople for Te Kotahitanga and Tūhoronuku are not returning to the tribes and discussing what is the right pathway to take."

To achieve a mandate, iwi must go through a robust process with beneficiaries, iwi and hapū groups that it represents, for it to be formally recognised by the Crown. 

"The Crown wants the tribe of Ngāpuhi to unite, however they're one of the biggest tribes, which makes the process wrong, because the wider tribe of Ngāpuhi is so large."

Williams says before the 2015 Ngāpuhi Mandate Report, Northland regions from Whangaroa, Waimate Taimamai and Takutaimoana wanted to speak with the Crown directly, to no avail. However, that stance hasn't changed.

"The regions are saying the Crown needs to come to them and talk directly with them. Don't form one group to speak for everyone."

Te Kāea contacted the Minister of Treaty Settlement's office for comment, but we have not yet received a response.