Forum to explode myths over Treaty

By John Cousins

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A public forum to explode the myths and misconceptions around Treaty of Waitangi settlements is expected to attract a big cross-section of people to Tauranga's Baycourt Theatre on Monday night.

Called Tauranga Moana Treaty Settlements - Right-on or Rip-off, the forum has been organised by Tommy Kapai Wilson, who is a member of Te Kohinga, a Christian-based network of people committed to reconciliation between Maori and European.

The three main speakers were closely involved in the Treaty settlement processes for Tauranga Moana's three iwi, Ngati Ranginui, Ngai Te Rangi and Ngati Pukenga. They are Antoine Coffin, Charlie Tawhiao and Awanui <inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />Black.

The forum takes place four days after this week's signing of Ngati Ranginui's Treaty settlement with the Crown at the historic Te Ranga battleground. Negotiations are still taking place on the other two iwi settlements.

Mr Wilson said there was much misinformation and innuendo around the settlements, with much of the speculation revolving around money. He said most wars were caused by land, religion and greed.

"We need a better level of understanding," he said.

Mr Wilson said innuendo could become perception and perception could poison people's minds.

He had personally encountered "volumes of misinformation" - a lot of it from Maori who had not taken the time to attend hui dealing with the Treaty settlements.

He said Maori who were opposed to the settlements held fast to the beliefs that it was all the Pakeha's fault and no amount of money or saying sorry was going to fix that.

Te Kohinga's goal was for people to hear the truth and to have their questions answered by experts who had the knowledge.

The forum will run from 7-9.30pm.

Mr Wilson said the forum was not intended as a chance for the audience to make speeches, but to allow them to ask honest questions.

It will be chaired by Tauranga solicitor Graeme Elvin.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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