Treaty turns to Ngapuhi grievances

By Mike Barrington

The Waitangi Tribunal has listed 16 major issues it will examine during stage 2 of its Te Paparahi o Te Raki inquiry into claims by Ngapuhi and other northern tribes for settlement of historic Treaty grievances.

The 42-page "relatively high-level" statement of issues will provide the main evidential framework to guide stage 2 hearings scheduled to begin on March 17 next year.

The statement summarises matters that appear to be in contention between claimants and the Crown following claimant submissions and the Crown response to them in September.

The statement begins with an examination of the political engagement between Maori and Crown after the Treaty was signed in 1840.

It moves on to old land claims and surplus lands, with the Crown admitting it breached the Treaty when it took Maori "surplus lands" in the Bay of Islands, Hokianga and Whangarei that were claimed by settlers through pre-Treaty transactions, rather than returning these lands to Maori.

The tribunal statement moves on to Crown acquisition of Maori land through the Native Land Court, public works and local government rating to ownership of environmental, water and other non-land resources.

Socio-economic issues, te reo Maori, wahi tapu, taonga and tikanga will be examined.

The statement looks at issues relating to Whangarei hapu, including whether they agreed to the placement and operation of the Marsden Pt oil refinery.

Meanwhile, a joint memorandum of the Counsel Co-ordinating Committee dated December 7 refers the tribunal to a draft revised timetable for the first week of the stage 2 hearing beginning with powhiri at the Waitangi Marae on March 17 and moving to the Copthorne Hotel at Waitangi for hearings on March 18-23.

The joint memorandum tries to record agreements reached at a Te Kotahitanga o Nga Hapu Ngapuhi and sub-regional claimant hui on December 5. The first hearing week proposal is opposed by Hokianga lawyer Jason Pou and Mangakahia lawyer Terena Wara.

The Te Kotahitanga hui resolved to call the sub-regions "taiwhenua" and the draft first week timetable proposes more than three days of taiwhenua opening statements followed by brief Crown opening statements.

- Northern Advocate

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