Treaty process 'dirty deals, done dirt cheap'

Iwi negotiators have been left traumatised and feel bullied and let down by Crown Treaty settlement processes according to research by academic Margaret Mutu.

Ngai Te Rangi iwi leader, Charlie Tawhiao, describes the process as 'dirty deals, done dirt cheap'.

“I felt that somehow or other I had not only let my iwi down but I’d let myself down and let my family down as well.”

The Ngai Te Rangi Runanga chairman’s views are backed by research from Auckland University Māori Studies professor, Margaret Mutu, who interviewed iwi negotiators nationwide.

“That came across very clearly, that we were being bullied often into having to accept things that we knew were wrong, that we knew were unjust,” says Mutu.

The Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little says he’s disappointed to hear of the negotiators’ concerns.

“If people are feeling that way, that’s the way they’re feeling.  It’s certainly an issue that I’m happy to take up.   This ought to be a process of the Crown coming to terms with the full extent of the harm that it has done to iwi and I’d be disappointed if people were feeling shut out or that issues were being shut down.”