Support from some Ngāpuhi sub-tribes on Waitangi Tribunal ruling

By Dean Nathan

Some Ngāpuhi hapū have come out in support of the Waitangi Tribunal's ruling that more sub-tribes need to be consulted on a mandate to negotiate a treaty settlement on behalf of the iwi. 

Ngāti Manu are adamant their claims to the sea and land in the Bay of Islands will never end under the present mandate.

Arapeta Hamilton (Ngāti Manu) says, "A single blanket can't represent us all.  We are saying is that we must represent ourselves and not Tūhoronuku."

Hamilton says the tribunal's decision has vindicated their stance and will enable Ngāti Manu to move forward to achieve a settlement process without being encumbered by anyone else.  He says they have made their position clear to Treaty Negotiation Minister Chris Finlayson.

Hamilton continues, "I've written to the minister asking that he allow Ngāti Manu to settle their own claims.  We've always advocated that only Ngāti Manu can represent Ngāti Manu in the settlement process."

The Tribunal's report seeks the realisation of obligations in the Treaty of Waitangi as signed by the chiefs of the respective hapū.

Hamilton says, "Yes, it was the chiefs of the hapū who signed the pages of the book.  Our ancestor Pomare II signed Te Tiriti O Waitangi in 1840."

Pita Tipene of Te Kotahitanga o Ngā Hapū o Ngāpuhi says, "We need to have an extensive look at the report.  But what I want to know is what the minister says and whether he'll concede on aspects of this report.  That's what we want to hear."

The Tribunal has recommended that the Crown hold off its negotiations to settle Ngāpuhi claims allowing time to address a number of flaws identified in its mandating process.

Hamilton says, "All Ngāpuhi hapū must determine this matter for themselves.  Whether or not they go under Tūhoronuku is not the issue.  But there must be another option available to hapū."