Te Rūnanga-ā-Iwi o Ngāti Kahu
Land Claims Report for October 2010
- Preparing Our Ngāti Kahu Deed of Settlement – drafting continuing.
- Repossession at Taipā.
- Submissions on Marine and Coastal (Takutai Moana) Bill due 19 November.
- Te Rarawa request for us to rejoin Te Hiku Forum
- Perth consultation hui.
· Your negotiations team continues drafting the Ngāti Kahu Deed of Settlement with this month spent mainly on finishing off various sections.
· A second repossession of Matakairiri lands at Taipā carries on the kaupapa laid down in our January hui-ā-iwi to discuss our land claims settlements.
· Submissions to the select committee hearings on the Marine and Coastal Areas (Takutai moana) Bill are being called for. Māori Party leaders indicate they will take heed of our submissions.
· We received a letter from Te Rūnanga o Te Rarawa asking us to rejoin Te Hiku Forum so that the Deeds of Settlement can be completed by December. We asked them to meet with us.
· We head off to Perth, Australia on November 18 to bring our whānau over there up to speed with our claims.
1. Preparing Our Ngāti Kahu Deed of Settlement – drafting continuing
Members of our Deed of Settlement drafting team have been working on finalizing the various sections. Interviewing our kuia and kaumātua has continued. The resulting transcriptions are providing the data needed for the hapū histories chapter of the Deed. Most of the rest of the data is now in although we are still waiting on maps from the Crown Forestry Rental Trust contractor.
2. Repossession at Taipā.
Last week John and Wikātana Pōpata led the second repossession of Matakairiri lands at Taipā, moving onto the area occupied by the Taipā Sailing Club. There has been considerable media coverage. The message that the lands are Ngāti Kahu lands that were never sold and we have a Waitangi Tribunal report upholding our claims does seem to being conveyed by some media. Māori media coverage has been particularly supportive.
Some government maps show the area as having no title. The area was however part of lands that the Crown, after confiscating it, sold on and it was part of the area the Adamson family occupied for several generations. It was then taken from them under the Public Works Act as a public recreation area. It was handed over to the Mangonui County Council and then the Far North District Council. We met with the Far North District Council in 2008 and indicated that all lands they controlled needed to come back to us. The Mayor agreed but said we had to pay for them. We advised him to get his money from the Crown who stole the land in the first place. Thus far the Crown has refused to do so.
Several hui have been held at the Taipā site with a view to resolving the matter of the need to return the land to its rightful owners. There is strong support for the repossession from whānau and hapū of Ngāti Kahu. A hui is taking place as I write between Ngāti Kahu and the Far North District Council on the site.
3. New Marine and Coastal (Takutai Moana) Bill.
As I reported last month, this bill repeals the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act and allows Māori to go to the High Court to seek recognition of our mana whenua and hence ownership of our territories in the marine and coastal area. This appears to be the sole basis on which the Māori Party has supported the bill.
The rest of the bill is as bad as if not worse than the 2004 Act. The bill sets out the criteria for proving mana whenua. These have been unilaterally set by the Crown and do not reflect tikanga. It is not what we or the National Iwi Chairs Forum had indicated was a basic necessity for the legislation because it does not recognize that we are mana whenua and hence the owners of our takutai moana. The criteria set out in the bill aim to keep all areas Māori have an interest in, except those claimed as Pākehā title, under the control of the Crown and ensure that few if any Māori will gain the customary title they may seek. The bill effectively confiscates the areas for which Māori cannot meet the criteria, setting a six year deadline for the extinguishment of almost all Māori rights.
The criteria which must be met by Māori are not required of those holding Pākehā title. Instead their ownership and control is upheld and confirmed.
Although the Māori Party, except our MP, Hone Harawira, have supported the bill, Tariana Turia did indicate that that could change if Māori submissions to the select committee indicated such a need. It is therefore important that we make submissions. I suggest a form submission to which people can add their own comments be prepared along the lines of Hone Harawira’s comments circulated last month. The closing date for submissions is 19th November 2010. Contact details for the select committee are available at http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/SC/MakeSub/2/1/3/49SCMA_SCF_00DBHOH_BILL10309_1-Marine-and-Coastal-Area-Takutai-Moana.htm where you can make an online submission.
4. Te Rarawa request for Ngāti Kahu to rejoin Te Hiku Forum
At the beginning of the month, the Chief Crown Negotiator rang me from a meeting he was having with the negotiators other four iwi of Te Hiku o Te Ika asking when we were returning to Te Hiku Forum. He had asked me exactly the same question a few days earlier but I guess he wanted me to repeat it for the other iwi. That same day an item featured on Māori TV’s Te Kāea of the negotiators of the other iwi attacking Ngati Kahu for not returning immediately to the forum. The next day we received a letter from Te Rūnanga o Te Rarawa telling us not only to return but to sign off the Deeds of Settlement by December. This of course is the Crown’s deadline.
After circulating the letter to those of our delegates on email, we sent a response asking Te Rarawa to come to our next Rūnanga hui or, if they preferred, to meet with our negotiations team the day before that. We received an informal response that the Rūnanga o Te Rarawa is not available to meet us until our next month’s (November) meeting and they would let us know later which one they would attend. This followed a statement issued by the Minister of Māori Affairs at a hui attended by the four other iwi last week warning iwi negotiators that relationships with other iwi are far more important than those with the Crown and not to allow pressure from the Crown to rush the settlement process to damage relationships with other iwi. It was certainly very timely.
5. Perth Consultation Hui
On 18 November the negotiations team heads out to Perth to hold two hui with our people living there. Strong interest has been expressed by the large number of Ngāti Kahu for us to come and explain how we are progressing with our claims. Ngāpuhi will be there the week before and have undertaken to pānui our hui in theirs.
Professor Margaret Mutu
27 October 2010