Waitangi Tribunal to hear Ngāti Hine and its case against the Marine and Coastal Area Act

By Tumamao Harawira

The Waitangi Tribunal has arrived at Ōtīria Marae in Northland for the beginning of a week-long hearing for the tribunal as it considers applications made by Ngāti Hine under the Marine and Coastal Area Act 2011.

Ngāti Hine says three contemporary takutai moana claims highlight just how badly the Crown has performed in Treaty terms when it comes to takutai moana rights for Ngāti Hine. The first was presented by Sir James Henare in the 1980s, over concerns about the negative impacts building a marina at Ōpua would have on the iwi.

Pita Tipene of Ngāti Hine explains, "This is us upholding the fight of our forefathers. The foreshore belongs to Māori, it has never belonged to anybody else."

Then, in 2004, the Crown refused to list Ngāti Hine as an iwi under the Māori Fisheries Act 2004. Ngāti Hine says this act by the Crown deprived them of their rights to their fisheries.

Respected Ngāti Hine kaumātua Hirini Henare says, 'Land isn't the only objective but also the waters that our ancestors navigated".

According to Ngāti Hine, "The issue today, is that the Marine and Coastal Area Act regime adds to those grievances and perpetuates extant prejudice suffered by Ngati Hine. and that the actions of the Crown have made almost irreparable damage to tribal relationships, and Ngāti Hine’s ability to govern through the act.

Te Waihoroi Shortland says, "Today we bring all our aspirations for the foreshore and seabed. We want to rectify the damage caused by both National and Labour".

The tribunal will continue to hear the case at Ōtīria Marae for the rest of the week.