Northland hapū seek mandate to settle their own treaty claims

By Ripeka Timutimu

A group of hapū from Northland are hoping to get the mandate to undertake their own treaty claims.  Te Kotahitanga o Ngā Hapū o Ngāpuhi met with the Minister of Treaty Negotiations, Chris Finlayson to move forward in having their claims settled.

According to Pita Tipene, “This is big for us.  The Minister has finally come to speak to Te Kotahitanga o Ngā Hapū o Ngāpuhi, it's been a long time coming.”

Tipene says they are getting the directive from hapū to move forward without Tūhoronuku.  He explains, “At the meeting held on Tuesday, it was clear people didn't want Tūhoronuku to speak on behalf of all of Ngāpuhi.  If Ngāpuhi is to move forward, they want to speak directly to the Crown first."

Last month, the Waitangi Tribunal upheld hapū claims that the Tūhorunuku mandate was deeply flawed.  Tipene says the Crown have now come knocking on their door.

“It looks like he has seen that this can't go forward with Tūhoronuku steering the waka,” said Tipene.

A spokesperson for Minister Finlayson told Te Kāea in a statement that it's important for Tūhoronuku IMA to engage actively with Ngāpuhi hapū, but Tipene says hapū are looking to the future.

“Hapū want to get an agreement down on paper with the Crown to outline how things might be able to move forward,” added Tipene.

The group will hold a meeting with Crown and Tūhoronuku over the coming months to find a way forward to settle their claims.