Native Affairs - Hapū Threaten $100m Whakatōhea Settlement

By Kim Webby

By Christmas next year the Eastern Bay of Plenty iwi, Whakatōhea, could be $100 million better off.

That’s the package in money and assets under discussion between Whakatōhea and the Crown.

It would be compensation for war and the confiscation of 144 thousand acres of land in 1866.

But there could be a setback.   This week an urgency hearing is underway at the Waitangi Tribunal. Twenty-four claimants oppose the mandate of the negotiating group, Tu Ake.

Adriana Edwards is the daughter of the late Claude Edwards who He led Whakatohea’s previous negotiations with the Crown in 1995. She is one of 24 claimants in an urgency hearing before the Waitangi Tribunal. She challenges the new negotiating group’s mandate.

“To achieve a mandate the Crown’s got it’s own policies and it’s quite a rigorous process and we observed that process just wasn’t being followed.  And that’s what we’ve challenged,” Edwards says.

But Chairman of the Whakatōhea Trust Board Graeme Riesterer says no-one is excluded under the mandate.

“Our mandate is robust.  It’s been prepared over a number of years.  It has the backing of the majority of our people.  Graeme: Of those that voted over 90 percent voted in favour of the mandate,” says Riesterer.

The 24 claimants oppose the mandate of the negotiating group, Tu Ake.

They refer to “invisible” hapu without a voice and the confiscation of their own claims, now part of Tu Ake’s mandate.  

Instead of direct negotiation with the Crown, they want a full Waitangi Tribunal hearing.