Claimant left wanting after trust funding cut off

By Mikaela Collins

Huhana Seve has been left disadvantaged in this week's Waitangi Tribunal hearings after much-needed funding was cut.
Huhana Seve has been left disadvantaged in this week's Waitangi Tribunal hearings after much-needed funding was cut.

A Ngatiwai claimant says she has been left disadvantaged in this week's Waitangi Tribunal hearings after much-needed funding was cut.

Huhana Seve, a claimant of the tribunal hearing Wai 1677 (Ngatiwai), has been researching and preparing for the Waitangi Tribunal's Northland Inquiry, Te Paparahi o Te Raki, since 2008 and usually gives high-quality presentations.

But Ms Seve said she has been left to do her best with what she has after Crown Forestry Rental Trust (CFRT) funding for the Wai 1677 claim was cut.

"[Before the funding cut] we were booking, mapping, we had this drone guy come out into our rohe and send his plane out, capturing all of this awesome footage. I had prepared to take them into the rohe of Wai 1677 in order for us to do the same, but now everyone else is having an awesome presentation this week with all these beautiful visuals and I can not access any of that, nor can I access any hui funding or anything."

Three Ngatiwai claims, including Wai 1677, have been excluded from CFRT funding. The claims have been excluded because they are part of the Ngatiwai Trust Board's Deed of Mandate, which Ms Seve opposed and is also being challenged in the tribunal.

"The trust's long-standing single funding policy states that CFRT will fund an approved client in either settlement negotiations with the Crown, or a Waitangi Tribunal District Inquiry. However, it will not fund a client to be in both processes at the same time," a spokesman for CFRT said.

The funding is now held by the Ngatiwai Trust Board and chairman Haydn Edmonds said it was not the board's "intention to disadvantage claimants".

"I am sorry for the claimants who we support in being able to present information at hearings," he said.

Mr Edmonds said while he knew about the CFRT single funding policy, he was not aware three Ngatiwai claimants were affected by it until a few days ago, and said if claimants had approached the board there may have been opportunity for open discussion about funding.

- Northern Advocate

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