The Crown and Tūhoronuku IMA have signed Terms of Negotiation and are ready to begin negotiating a Treaty settlement for the benefit of all Ngāpuhi, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson announced this afternoon.
This settlement claim is charging forward, it's well known how much Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson wants to settle Ngāpuhi's claim they are the largest iwi in New Zealand.
Just last month Tūhoronuku appointed its three negotiators, Alison Thom, Joe Davis, and Hemi Toia.
At the end of last year, the Waitangi Tribunal held an urgent hearing into the process around Tūhoronuku's mandate and the findings of that have not yet been released.
That is why Te Kotahitanga o Ngā Hapū o Ngāpuhi is so surprised to hear of today's announcement.
Pita Tipene from Te Kotahitanga o Ngā Hapū o Ngāpuhi says, "This is not good news as it shows us at home that Tūhoronuku is continuing to shroud its plans in secrecy.
It's disappointing that the Crown is showing disregard towards Ngāpuhi especially given the issue is still within the courts. I hold grave concerns about the way in which the Crown continues to trample over Ngāpuhi.
Te Kāea understands that Tūhoronuku received the mandate to settle Ngāpuhi's claim in 2011.
About 76% of those who voted supported Tūhoronuku, however, that only comprised 23% of those eligible to vote. That is one of the reasons Tūhoronuku's mandate is contested.