Ngāti Manu first to 'pull the plug' on Ngāpuhi Treaty settlement

By Raniera Harrison

Northland hapū Ngāti Manu boasts three sitting Government Ministers

However, it's the chairman of their marae that's ruled out supporting the proposed Ngāpuhi Treaty settlement proposed by the Government

"Leave that up to them - just get it right," says the chairman of Karetu Marae, Arapeta Hamilton.

Ngāti Manu say they are the first of the 110 eligible Ngāpuhi hapū to formally remove their support for the proposed Ngāpuhi Treaty settlement.

"Ngāti Manu isn't a big tribal grouping, there is not a lot of us. However, we do have the power to speak for ourselves" he adds.

Minister of Crown Māori Relations, Kelvin Davis declined to comment on camera given the conflict of interest between his iwi and the Crown. However, Treaty Negotiations Minister, Andrew Little says Davis is well aware of the politics.

Little, who met with the mid-north subtribe yesterday said "I had a meeting in relation to other things this morning with Kelvin Davis, and I just happened to mention to him at the end of the meeting. We just acknowledged that "Yes, that's what Ngāti Manu had said". Neither of us understood what that meant."

Minister of Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta declined to comment also today, citing she has no formal land interests in Ngāti Manu, despite her late mother, the late Lady Raiha Mahuta resting at urupā adjacent to Karetū.

"Conflicts of interest were declared very early on not only by Ministers but a whole bunch of MPs, not just from the Labour Party, but NZ First and certainly those two parties anyway when it comes to this," says Mr. Little.

Minister for Whānau Ora, Peeni Henare's office declined to comment saying they had been advised not to make comment. Regardless, Ngāti Manu remains optimistic.

"What we're saying to the Minister is that we can make a new claim for the subtribes in the Bay of Islands area" adds Mr. Hamilton.

Whether or not more hapū will formally remove support for the proposed Ngāpuhi Treaty settlement in coming weeks, only time will tell.