Overlapping treaty settlements a growing issue between iwi and Crown

By Peata Melbourne

 As Ngāi Te Rangi and Hauraki iwi face conflict over tribal interests, Ngāti Whātua has pledged their support for Ngāi Te Rangi saying while they support the Government to complete the Treaty Settlement process, it cannot be carried out by trampling on the mana of another iwi. 

Ngāi Te Rangi spokesman Hauata Palmer says his iwi intend on battling Hauraki iwi for their rights to Tauranga Harbour despite an initialled Deed of Settlement agreement between Hauraki and the Crown.

"Hauraki claims that they have a land interest in Tauranga Moana, and their thinking that they're in charge of our moana, and this is what we are objecting to" says Hauata Palmer of Ngāi Te Rangi.

Auckland-based iwi Ngāti Whātua, who are going through a similar battle against another Auckland iwi, Maratuahu support Ngāi Te Rangi's stance and are warning iwi around the country the Crown could do the same to them.

"If the people do not stand and object to what some groups are doing, it will just continue on, and these issues will affect various iwi, so therefore let this be a warning to all iwi" says Ngāti Whātua's Taiaha Hawke.

Ngāti Whātua believe some iwi are taking advantage of the Crown's approach and overreaching into areas where their interests are not strong. 

"According to law, the government is correct, but the spirit of the Treaty is not been addressed" says Hawke.

Ngāi Te Rangi blame the Crown for the situation they now find themselves in battling with their neighbours from the Hauraki region over a body of water in the Tauranga area.

"The real problem lies with the Minister of the Crown, Finlayson, has not come to talk to us, and if he wants to come to talk with us the people of Hauraki, that's fine" says Palmer.

Chris Finlayson could not be reached for comment but the Minister Hawke says is disappointed with the backlash by Ngāti Whātua.

"The government is disappointed at us, they don't agree with our position of objection" says Hawke.

Tomorrow Ngāti Whātua will travel to Tauranga to meet with Ngāi Te Rangi and other Tauranga iwi representatives to discuss a way forward in ensuring iwi integrity is kept in tact.