Ngāpuhi hearings begin

Te Kāea was not permitted to broadcast the audio evidence presented this morning, which focused on laying the foundation of evidence for the area from Waitangi to Pouerua.

One of the claimants, Patu Hohepa says, “this was the centre of Ngāpuhi during the signing of Te Tiriti and the respective hapū claimants have spoken of the arrival of the first missionaries. One of the most painful issues portrayed is that we the respective hapū and our knowledge remain but our land is lost.”

Present at the hearing was a Canadian professor of anthropology who arduously follows treaty claims. She says what happens here is like a barometer for the Indigenous people of Canada like the Inuits.

Professor Andy Palmer says she was very impressed with the opening statements. “Obviously Kingi Taurua never lets the nation or indeed Canada forget what this is all about.  So it was great to hear him again.”

Pita Tipene of Ngāti Hine says, “there was some evidence presented that all of Ngāpuhi are very passionate about, Ngāpuhi have never ceded sovereignty to anyone.”

He also claims, “these days, the 1835 Declaration of Chiefs and Te Tiriti o Waitangi are symbols manipulated on a political stage.”

Despite all this, Mr Hohepa a Ngāpuhi leader says that the tribunal remains the only place left for us to lay our claims.

Mr Hohepa says, “if one goes and talks to John Key and co, they won't listen and don't understand what we're saying. Their minds are closed and they cannot see the pain that has been brought upon Māori. This is the only place, where else can we go?”

Today, the tribes of Ngāpuhi begin presenting their evidence.

Reporter: Dean Nathan.