Land Claims Report forDecember 2009 – January 2010
- Forum hui 8 & 14 December
- Hui-ā-iwi of Ngāti Kahu 7 January – mandate given to sign AIP
- Repossession of Māheatai (Taipā)
- Drafts of AIP still being received
- Signing of Te Hiku AIP scheduled for 16 January – conditional on resolution of Ngāti Kurī/Te Aupōuri dispute over Te Rerenga Wairua
Activity on land claims over the past two months has focused on finalizing the Agreement in Principle for the shared interests of the five iwi. Sufficient finality had been achieved by Christmas to call a hui-a-iwi of Ngāti Kahu and that took place at Taipā on 7 January immediately after our very successful and exciting festival ended. That hui gave conditional approval for Ngāti Kahu’s negotiators to sign the AIP on 16 January at Roma marae, Ahipara, that is, in two days time. However even at this late stage it is unclear whether the signing will go ahead because of a serious dispute between Ngāti Kurī and Te Aupōuri over Te Rerenga Wairua. Immediately after our hui-ā-iwi the Popata whānau led by John and Wīkātana repossessed part of the old camping ground at Māheatai (present day Taipā) attracting national media attention.
1. Forum hui 8 December, Jet Inn, Māngere
Te Kani, Lloyd and I attended supported by several marae and whānau representatives. It was a difficult meeting. Attacks on us by Te Aupōuri in November resulted in us conducting an analysis of the gains made by each of Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kurī, Ngāi Takoto and Te Aupōuri as a result of using our Agreement in Principle as a benchmark. It revealed that while other iwi had gained very large increases in their quantum and the lands available for settlement, Ngāti Kahu had gained just $5m, less than one sixth of the other iwi gains.
We had to take a very firm line with the other iwi to retain this amount and to ensure that our interests in Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē, the Sweetwater blocks and Te Aupōuri forest remained on the table. We did agree nevertheless that provided the AIP was finalized satisfactorily we would hold hui-ā-iwi for the five iwi before Christmas and then, provided each iwi authorized signing the AIP, it would take place on 16 January.
2. Forum Meeting 14 December, Toka Tūmoana
Lloyd, Bardia and I attended supported by several kaumātua and marae and whānau representatives. The Crown had promised an updated version of the AIP but it did not arrive for several more days and even then, was still not satisfactory. As a result Ngāti Kahu withdrew from the proposed pre-Christmas consultation hui. We indicated that we would hold a Ngāti Kahu hui-ā-iwi instead once we were satisfied with the AIP.
Once a draft of the AIP came in it took several days to go through it and identify areas that were still not satisfactory. By late on Christmas Eve we had been able to rewrite several areas and send them back to the Crown with Te Kani confident, given his very intense dealing with the Crown in recent months including visiting the Minister of Treaty Negotiations in Wellington, that we would be able to complete the AIP to our satisfaction. On the strength of this we called a Ngāti Kahu hui-ā-iwi for 7 January to report progress and to seek instructions about whether or not we could sign the AIP.
3. Hui-ā-iwi of Ngāti Kahu 7 January – mandate given to sign AIP
This hui at Taipā Area School at the venue of our festival, was very well attended with representatives from all our marae. The presentation given is attached to this report. Several questions were asked and good discussions ensued. The hui culminated in the passing of the following resolution:
That this hui-a-iwi of Ngati Kahu authorises the three mandated negotiators to sign the Te Hiku Agreement in Principle with the Crown on 16 January 2010, subject to
1. the 3 mandated negotiators being satisfied that it will not negatively impact on the Ngati Kahu Agreement in Principle
2. the 3 mandated negotiators being satisfied with the three side letters to accompany the Te Hiku Agreement in Principle
4. Repossession of Māheatai (Taipā)
Immediately after our hui-ā-iwi the Popata whānau led by John and Wīkātana asked permission of Taipā kaumātua and of the Rūnanga before repossessing part of the old camping ground at Māheatai (present day Taipā).
We had signaled clearly to Minister Michael Cullen at the signing of our AIP in September 2008 that the issue of the Crown refusing to consider the return of our wāhi tapu and areas of special significance (which is most if not all our lands) would continue to be an issue until such time as those lands did come back to us. The significance of our lands at Taipā, and of the Māheatai lands there as Ngāti Kahu’s initial home is well known to the Crown. The Tribunal’s 1997 report covers the loss of these lands in some detail, upholding our claims to them.
The repossession attracted the usual media attention and the Popata whānau delivered a clear message on the need to return these and the rest of Ngāti Kahu’s lands. Most coverage was fair and supportive, especially that of the Māori media, although the usual culprits attempted to whip up public anxiety.
The whānau reports support from many whānau and marae as well as from the Pākehā community. Our MP Hone Harawira has also been supportive, rebuffing some rather ill-informed and unnecessary comments made by the Prime Minister which simply demonstrated that he has not been accurately briefed about the nature of our claims or the reports of the Waitangi Tribunal.
5. Drafts of AIP still being received
As I write this report, less than two days before the scheduled signing of Te Hiku’s AIP, we still do not have a final version of the Agreement in Principle we are supposed to be signing. I have indicated that Ngāti Kahu will not sign any document on Saturday until we have read it and are satisfied with it. We are also still waiting on documentation from Te Rarawa so that we can confirm that there are no negative impacts on our AIP.
6. Signing of Te Hiku AIP scheduled for 16 January – conditional on resolution of Ngāti Kurī/Te Aupōuri dispute over Te Rerenga Wairua
Although preparations are well underway for the AIP to be signed on Saturday, they are still dependant on all iwi being able to sign. At present Ngāti Kurī has indicated that they will not compromise the mana whenua they have always held at Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga) to accommodate Te Aupōuri’s claims to the area and cannot sign an AIP that recognizes a Te Aupōuri interest there. There has been an impasse over this for some time now and unless a resolution can be found in the next day, the signing will not go ahead on Saturday.
Professor Margaret Mutu
14 January 2010