New Tūhoronuku chair appointed amidst Waitangi Tribunal recommendations for Ngāpuhi settlement

By Dean Nathan

A Waitangi Tribunal report has ruled that more Ngāpuhi hapū need to be consulted on a mandate to negotiate a treaty settlement on behalf of the iwi.

This coincides with the announcement of a new chairman for the Ngāpuhi mandated authority Tūhoronuku.

Former Tūhoronuku Chairman Sonny Tau withdrew from the process to elect a new chairperson. Hone Sadler is now the new chair.

Tau says, “I said to this meeting that I've been receiving a lot of heat recently and of utmost importance is the settlement of Ngāpuhi claims and not me and hence my request to withdraw my name.”

Sadler says, “I'm saying that this bus will not stop! It will continue because the matters that need to be addressed are only minimal and can be overcome.”

The decision coincides with the release of a Waitangi Tribunal report recommending the Crown hold off its settlement negotiations with Tūhoronuku to address a number of flaws affecting claimant hapū it has identified in the mandating process.

Pita Tipene  says, “It confirms what we've said all along. That hapū speak for themselves.  But for a long time now government have had disregard for the hapū claimants. The time is nigh that hapū speak with Tūhoronuku, and the government and minister Chris Finlayson listen. If they don't, Ngāpuhi will continue to flounder.”

In her decision to hear this case urgently, Judge Reeves was satisfied she had seen enough evidence that the Crown process was creating irreversible prejudice.

So today, observations have been confirmed despite some disagreement from Tūhoronuku's former chair.

Tau says, “I think the report has got it wrong on a number of issues, but in the end, we need to address them. We're yet to have an in depth analysis of all the issues raised to see if we can resolve them.”

It's a major issue that hapū all across Ngāpuhi will meet to discuss in days to come.