Treaty Minister looks at next steps forward with Ngāpuhi

By Te Ao - Māori News

The Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations is in Ngāpuhi to look at the next step forward in the treaty settlement process for the country’s largest tribe.

Minister Little says hapū by hapū negotiations may not be feasible, “If it's hapū by hapū even the Waitangi Tribunal has said that that is impractical.”

The treaty minister called for all of Ngāpuhi to come together.

“At some point, we are going to have to talk about the common issues and also the very distinctive issues of each hapū,” says Little.

Ngāti Hine leader, Waihoroi Shortland says bringing hapū together is imperative.

"If you should go it alone then be strong. I know there are a few hapū that may be able to go it alone. It’s difficult because one can bend under the pressure of the crown," he says. 

Dover Samuels is an experienced politician and knows the process. He says, "The crown and the government won’t support the separation of the claims into hapū groupings."

Over the past months, hapū have been meeting to talk about ways to move matters forward. 

Minister Little says, "That's the recipe we have to find which enables all those things to happen over time, but in a way that isn't going to make it drag on for another ten years."

Samuels gave some advice saying that if that is the case then be sure to pick the best and strongest spokesperson to take the case to the crown.

While Shortland says better understanding will come after this hui for the pathway forward. "The minister now has to take some time to think and consult with his colleagues on the things he heard here today from the hapū."

Minister Little will return to parliament where he will discuss the topics laid out in today’s hui and aim to come back with outcomes by the end of the year.