Waitangi Tribunal calls urgent hearing over Ngāpuhi Treaty claims

By Dean Nathan
Urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing called today in Waitangi

An urgent hearing called by the Waitangi Tribunal will look into the process followed by the Crown in appointing Tūhoronuku as the mandated body to settle Ngāpuhi Treaty claims. 

Claimant tribes say the process being used by the Crown to settle their claims is usurping them of their mana as guaranteed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Ngati Hine elder, Erima Henare says, “The Crown continues to say that sub-tribes are prolonging a settlement that would address unemployment and housing among other things, and I say that these problems were caused by the Crown, not us.”

With 15 applications and up to 70 interested parties, the case has become a massive battle.

Pita Tipene from Te Kotahitanga o ngā hapū o Ngāpuhi says, “The Crown needs to stop dictating to sub-tribes because Te Tiriti o Waitangi is clear that it’s the sub-tribes who have the right.  We say that the Crown's process and both ministers are at fault.  They're not worried about the people of Ngāpuhi, and hence they continue to trample the respective sub-tribes and that needs to stop.”

There's evidence of flaws in the process by which the group Tūhoronuku were awarded the mandate to settle Ngāpuhi claims, and hence the call by the Waitangi Tribunal for an urgent and substantive hearing of the evidence.

According to Henare, “We're saying to the Crown that it continues the lie that it speaks on behalf of Ngāpuhi, and yet it continues to divide while assuming authority to speak for us?  Ngāpuhi will speak for itself.”

Evidence from both the Crown and Tūhoronuku will also be heard during this week-long hearing.