Te Rūnanga-ā-Iwi o Ngāti Kahu Land Claims Portfolio
Report for February – March 2018
1. Waitangi Tribunal judicial conference 23, 24 April – directions of 27 February
2. National Iwi Chairs Forum hui 31 January – 2 February
3. Our Ngāti Kahu: Portrait of a Sovereign Nation book is being reprinted
• This report repeats and updates the February report that we did not discuss due to the postponement of the February hui-ā-marama.
• A second judicial conference to prepare for the full hearing for binding recommendations is scheduled to take place at the Ramada Resort, Taipā on 23 and 24 April although the Tribunal’s directions of 27 February, which clarifies its position that it will ignore the ruling from the Court of Appeal, may change that.
• A National Iwi Chairs Forum’s hui was held at Waitangi 31 January to 2 February at the Copthorne Hotel, Waitangi.
• Our book, Ngāti Kahu: Portrait of a Sovereign Nation, is selling very quickly. Huia Publishers has indicated that they are reprinting it.
1. Waitangi Tribunal judicial conference 23, 24 April
As reported last month, the Waitangi Tribunal is scheduled to hold the next judicial conference to prepare for the full hearing for binding recommendations on 23 and 24 April at the Ramada Resort in Taipā. (See the January 2108 report for the areas it will cover.) At our last hui we agreed to re-engage Royden Hindle who acted for us in the High Court and Court of Appeal, to lead our application for binding recommendations in light of the rather tortuous approach being taken by the Tribunal.
On 27 February the Waitangi Tribunal issued directions which clarify that they are refusing to follow the Court of Appeal’s instructions to simply issue binding recommendations for the Ngāti Kahu claims that were upheld as well-founded in 1997. Essentially although they rejected the Crown’s instruction that they go back to 1990 and rehear everything, they are following part of the Crown’s instructions by saying they will go back to 2007. That deliberately ignores the Court of Appeal’s instructions which direct them to go back only to the 2013 Tribunal report and deal only with binding recommendations. This raises questions of the Tribunal once again acting outside their legislation. Our lawyers are currently preparing an application to the High Court to judicially review the Waitangi Tribunal, just as we did last time they acted outside their legislation. Depending on the Tribunal’s response, the 23-24 April judicial conference may not go ahead.
2. National Iwi Chairs Forum meeting 31 January to 2 February
The first day of this hui was a helpful and hopefully productive strategic planning day with one session led by Rangatahi. For the second and third day I was accompanied by Ani Mānuera, Katie Evans, Claire Stensness, Ruth Murray, Ānahera Herbert-Graves and two of her mokopuna, Hōhepa Rāmeka, Nina Raharuhi and Anthony Housham.
The Forum asked Te Pou Tikanga, which I chair and which deals with constitutional transformation, the Monitoring Mechanism and the treaty claims settlement process (see last month’s report), to advise the new government of the need to engage on these issues. The new Minister of Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, had asked to meet with the Monitoring Mechanism at Waitangi but did not follow it up. Likewise, the new Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Andrew Little, asked to talk with me about the treaty claims settlement research we’ve been conducting at the University of Auckland. I have heard nothing further. Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister, was advised by her official not to listen to either the Pou Tikanga or the Pou Tāhua presentations and left the hui two hours earlier than scheduled. Te Pou Tikanga will report accordingly to the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva that the government continues to refuse to engage. Professor Jane Kelsey briefed us on the new comprehensive and progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and Te Pou Tāhua announced that they will continue to oppose it. It has since been signed in Chile.
The report from Te Pou Taiao (Iwi Leaders Groups working in environmental areas) indicated that there will be a National Climate Change Summit in Wellington on 24 and 25 March which most of the chairs indicated they could attend. The government is continuing to refuse to engage on the issue of Māori ownership of fresh water.
The Mana Whakahono ā Rohe provisions of the Resource Management Act that were legislated last year and are now being implemented. Workshops on the provisions are being conducted around the country with the next one for Te Taitokerau scheduled for 13 March in Te Hāpua. The provisions aim to ensure greater iwi authority participation in decision-making for resource consents and greater compliance with sections 6(e), 7(a) and 8 of the Act by local government. These are the sections that are supposed to recognize and provide for our relationship with our lands and resources, have regard to kaitiakitanga and take into account the Treaty of Waitangi – but which councils have always ignored. We are testing these new provisions in our resource management work.
Te Pou Tangata (social issues) deals primarily with Whānau Ora which also encompasses the areas of justice, education, housing, rangatahi-ā-iwi and data (statistics). Their priority areas include child poverty and well-being, an inquiry into child abuse in state institutions, reducing incarceration rates and exercising rangatiratanga in respect of data collection. The first three of these align with government priorities and so we will hopefully see some progress with them.
The data group has secured free access for iwi for one year (December 2017 to December 2018) to all census data and are encouraging iwi to take up the opportunity to use it.
Ngā Rangatahi-ā-Iwi (Iwi Youth representatives) were supported and mandated by the Forum to work directly with the Minister of Youth Affairs on their issues needing government attention.
Professor Margaret Mutu
19 March 2018