Ngāpuhi hapū met en masse at Waima to hold their own hui independent of the Crown to affirm their stance on the Crown's speedy consultation process, currently taking place to confirm a new mandate for Ngāpuhi treaty settlement.
Key messages hung on the fence as Ngāpuhi gathered for a meeting of their hapū assembly on Saturday.
Dr Patu Hohepa (Te Māhurehure) says, "Nothing has changed because government haven’t decided. If they’d listened, they’d know the pathway the people of Hokianga and Ngāpuh want and that is to return the authority to hapū, as opposed to mandating a group created to represent Ngāpuhi. Hapū are the authority."
One can hear distrust as Crown consultation meetings continue throughout the region this week.
"What else can we do? It’s about our children and future generations should they ask what their ancestors did to fight for their rights or jump in ignorance. But when they come down, they have no land," Hine Puru (Ngāti Kaitutae, Te Waiariki, Ngāti Manawa) says.
Moka Puru (Ngare Raumati, Ngāi Tawake) emphasised the importance of hapū.
"It is the hapū who have authority and not the iwi. The lands that were taken belong to the respective hapū."
The Ngāpuhi hapū assembly first came together a year ago with a resounding vote against the Crown's Tuhono proposal for settlement. There they agreed their unity of purpose on the grounds that hapū never ceded sovereignty to the Crown.
"We want an understanding, or a strategy, or pathway for hapū to move forward in line with the proclamation of 1835 and the settlement of claims. Hapū are the nucleus of all Ngāpuhi matters. The house of Ngāpuhi was built on the strength of the respective hapū," Pita Tipene (Ngāti Hine) says.
The pathway forward and the authority of the respective hapū remains a matter for continued discussion.
Report by Dean Nathan for Te Ao.