Whakatōhea Day 2: Urgent tribunal hearing underway

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

A Whakatōhea claimant is disputing the tribes treaty settlement process and says hapū should play a major role in negotiating directly with the Crown.

Tāwhirimātea Williams says the Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust does not have the mandate for his hapū of Ngāti Rua.

“I want to us to take our claims before the Tribunal of Waitangi,” said Williams.

13 claimants are disputing the settlement process and mandate of the Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust to settle the tribes land confiscation issues, with the support of the tribe.

“For me this hearing is a good thing,” said Ngāti Tamahaua elder Ruka Hudson. “We get to hear the concerns of each of the sub-tribes. When I'm at home and I hear the disputes of each of our relatives I don't know the reason why.”

The confiscation of Te Whakatōhea land is the result of the Te Tarata Battle to the unlawful conviction and imprisonment of Mokomoko in 1865. Williams says his hapū are also divided as some support the Trust.

“How do we unite those different views?” asked Williams. “I think by bringing all of our claims together before the Waitangi Tribunal. Then we can research, quality, exhaustive and expert research.”

Hudson said, “The Trust needs to understand the views of each of the hapū. Despite the different concerns we need to show compassion for each other.”

Seven claimants have spoken since the hearing began yesterday. Tomorrow the last six claimants will give evidence as well as Te Puni Kōkiri