Ngāti Wai seeks urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing

By Dean Nathan

Ngāti Wai claimants are seeking an urgent tribunal hearing to oppose the mandate the Crown has given to the Ngāti Wai Trust Board to settle their treaty claims.

Ngāti Wai claimants say they have no other option but to return to the Waitangi Tribunal.

Huhana Lyndon says, "Yes, we, myself, my family and our claimants, were shocked to hear of the mandate because there are a whole range of issues and concerns that the board has yet to address.  So we question how the Crown can recognise their mandate to negotiate for us."

She continues to say the dust is yet to settle over what's been a very controversial issue in Ngāpuhi and yet the Crown is pushing the same issue in Ngāti Wai, "It's a major issue for us as the Crown aren't taking into account the problems in Northland and just agree to give a mandate.  They're still to address key concerns of the claimant groups, hapū and families alike, to this strategy."

The Ngāti Wai Trust Board did not want to comment on this matter today.  A statement from the Office of the Minister of Treaty Settlements to Te Kāea says that it is for claimant groups to decide who will represent them in negotiations with the Crown.  However, this requires Crown endorsement. 

But claimants say that with their trust board closing its door to them, they'll have to try other avenues.  

Lyndon says, "We're taking the recent case of the opposition of Ngāpuhi hapū to the Tūhoronuku mandate as an example to follow for the benefit of Ngāti Wai."