Ngati Wai call for newly elected Govt to intervene with treaty settlement

By Dean Nathan

Ngati Wai is calling for the newly elected Government to intervene in a crown deal that will see its tribal boundaries redefined to benefit the Hauraki tribes.  It's filed for urgency with the Waitangi Tribunal to clarify the process the crown is following. 

Ngati Wai iwi chair Haydn Edmonds says, "Some of our cultural heritage has been offered to an iwi that is not ours.  The tohoraha of Manaia has been offered not to us but to Marutuahu and to the collective in Hauraki.  That's an issue for us." 

In a statement, Paul Majurey of the Marutuahu iwi in Hauraki told Te Kaea:

"Ngāti Wai acknowledge the interests of Marutūāhu Iwi in areas where we will receive Treaty settlement redress. They could hardly do otherwise given our dead lay there and we are whanaunga. Ngāti Wai also has Treaty fisheries agreements with us in these areas.    

But, the current Ngāti Wai leadership now want to manufacture exclusive areas for them. That runs counter to decisions of the Māori Land Court and our history." 
Haydn Edmonds says, "The barrier (Great Barrier Island) has got a number of families there who've got descendant lines into Hauraki.  And so to say that their rights are extinguished on the Great Barrier on Aotea is incorrect.  But never the less, with the Crown defining now what they will redress the Hauraki collective with is an offence in some cases to Ngati Wai."

He says Ngati Wai have also put their support behind Ngai Te Rangi who oppose a Crown process that will see Hauraki tribes receive rights in the Tauranga harbour, "In our view its a significant expansion of the area.  We have supported Ngati te Rangi and we are open about that because a similar exercise is happening in the North."  

Ngati Wai says they're aggrieved at the Crowns' disregard for judicial findings of the Maori Land Court on this matter.  While Hauraki iwi says, "The call by some for "tikanga processes" is a code for wanting to veto the Treaty settlements of other iwi.  That is not how the Treaty process works, and never has since settlements began.  We met with Ngāti Wai during our settlement negotiations process but agreement was not reached on all matters. That is the common experience with Treaty settlements."

The iwi chair for Ngati Wai says, "Here in the 21 st century at the historical treaty settlements it would appear that the Government have backed away or have not taken into consideration those findings of that period and have now given redress to some of the collective of Hauraki on Aotea."

Marutūāhu says, "It has not agreed with aspects of other settlements where we and other iwi have overlapping and shared interests, but we have never tried to veto anyone else. Our settlements acknowledge the shared and overlapping interests of other iwi.  In every part of New Zealand, there are complex and interwoven customary interests involving different iwi and groups. If the Treaty settlement process does not accommodate shared and overlapping interests, there would be no settlements in many parts of the country.”