Waitangi Tribunal hear claims made by tribes of Whangarei

By Dean Nathan

Mana whenua are still not being consulted about major mining in their tribal homelands.  This was the crux of presentations before the Waitangi Tribunal on the morning of day one of a hearing of the claims made by the tribes of Whangarei. 

The effects of gold and silver mining on Ngāti Hau lands goes back to the late 1800s and hence it’s been a considerable wait for Ngāti Hau to have their views on the matter heard by a tribunal.

Te Raa Nehua from Ngāti Hau says, “Government say they're not required to consult with tangata whenua on the approval of mining licences and that's just so wrong.  The signatures on Te Tiriti weren't even dry and they started doing wrong.”

Also this month, the Crown are set to negotiate the terms of negotiation of the Ngāpuhi settlement with Tūhoronuku.  It’s an issue that doesn't sit well with many descendants of signatories to Te Tiriti.

Hone Harawira says, “Why did we create that covenant?  It’s of major significance, made by our chiefs for the hapū chiefs of all of Ngāpuhi.  That’s why I'm urging Tūhoronuku not to act in haste but to wait until Tūhoronuku and the confederation of Ngāpuhi tribes are able to stand as one for all of us.”

The near death of the Māori language under colonising policies, the return of Glenbervie Forest to Ngāti Hau and other tribes with interest there and a stake in the aquaculture industry are some of the main issues on day one of this hearing.

“We are the authority over those lands and yet they don't want to consult us.  They haven't acted in good faith and they must acknowledge our authority,” says Nehua.

The hearing wraps up February 20.