Other venue wanted for Mahurangi hui

By Mike Barrington

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The Mahurangi Kaumatua Kuia Taiwhenua Committee has asked the Waitangi Tribunal to change the venue for its Mahurangi hui on February 9-14 from the Albany Stadium to the Mahurehure Marae at Waterview in West Auckland.

In a message to the presiding officer for the tribunal's Te Paparahi o Te Raki inquiry, Judge Craig Coxhead, committee chairman Bruce Joyce said the 150-200 people tribunal staff and some legal counsel had suggested would attend the hui was way short of the mark.

"We predict a minimum of 600 at least on the first day, if not more," Mr Joyce said.

"There are several buses from the north and south along with Hato Petera's 100-plus. This does not include a small percentage of the 150,000 Ngapuhi who live in Tamaki Makaurau, surrounding districts and overseas."

More than 1200 people were comfortably catered for at the opening of the Mahurehure Marae so it would be able to accommodate all who turned up. Some members are excepted to travel from Northland for the hui.

Mr Joyce said funding for the hui was also well short of what was needed. And with the Albany Stadium pre-booked for February 11 Mahurangi would lose a day of the planned five-day hui.

"This is totally unacceptable to the Mahurangi taiwhenua iwi," he said.

Mr Joyce said tribunal claims co-ordinator Danny Merito had indicated to him that changing the hui venue could be a problem with the tribunal's jurisdictional boundary.

"I am sure this problem can be solved as these special extraordinary circumstances dictate," Mr Joyce told Judge Coxhead.

"This is an historical and significant time for our iwi. There is much at stake. We pray your honour can help and with us find a way to make the start of these huihui a success."

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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