The Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little has attended a series of meetings with Northern hapū this weekend, upholding Waitangi Tribunal recommendations for better recognition and respect for hapū at every level of Ngāpuhi's treaty settlement negotiations.
Little says, "The tribunal has said there's gotta be better recognition and respect when it comes to hapū, I made the promise that I would get out and around the rohe to have a listen and that's what I'm doing this weekend."
Little has been urged by The Office of Treaty Settlements to complete historical settlements with all willing and able groups by 2020. However, disagreements surrounding mandate have slowed the progress of Ngāpuhi's pending settlement.
"People do want to make progress, what I've been impressed by is, people do want to get on but they do want to be heard and they do want to be listened to."
During a series of meetings with Northern hapū throughout this weekend, Little says there was support for for the Maranga Mai report which outlines processes to enhance hapū participation at every level of settlement negotiations.
"It was good to hear the support for Maranga Mai the reality is Tuhoronuku holds the mandate at the moment and the question is whether we can fix the mandate with the benefit of whats in Maranga Mai and the kōrero of these hui and see whether we can come up with the magic solution that's going to enable us to go ahead with confidence."
Ngāpuhi are one of 53 claimants The Crown is yet to reach a deed of settlement with, Little says he will be returning to the North early next year to continue his meetings with Ngāpuhi.