The co-chairman of the group that had formerly opposed Tuhoronuku says the changes proposed in a new Ngapuhi settlement report are what hapu wanted from the beginning.
The Ngapuhi Engagement Group - a tripartite group comprising Te Kotahitanga, Tuhoronuku and the Crown - released a draft report titled Maranga Mai in which major changes and recommendations include hapu tikanga playing a major role in how hapu representatives are chosen, the potential for a group to represent hapu rather than an individual, and regional groups made up of hapu making decisions.
Pita Tipene, co-chairman of Te Kotahitanga which had opposed the mandate given to Tuhoronuku to negotiate Treaty claims on behalf of Ngapuhi, said he was "elated" by the draft report.
"People are really excited in Ngapuhi," he said. "This is certainly what we wanted. I am elated. We took [Tuhoronuku's Mandate] to the Waitangi Tribunal and our concerns [regarding hapu sovereignty] were upheld in their report.
"The Waitangi Tribunal also found that Ngapuhi never ceded sovereignty to the Crown so we needed a mandate where hapu were at the forefront."
The Ngapuhi Engagement Group was established last year to address issues raised in the Waitangi Tribunal's report into the Ngapuhi Mandate, which found the structures and processes of Tuhoronuku undermined hapu sovereignty.
Since then the group has had 22 meetings, six regional hui to gather feedback on issues, and six wananga in Northland and one in Auckland to feed into this draft report.
Mr Tipene said the formation of the engagement group had been "hugely beneficial".
"There has been a lot of disagreement in the past so it was time to put aside their differences and be proactive."
A spokesman for Tuhoronuku said the engagement group was seeking feedback on changes proposed in the draft report and a final report would be released on May 6.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Treaty Negotiations said Minister Chris Finlayson had no comment to make while the report was in draft form.
Other changes proposed in the draft report include removing the Ngapuhi runanga representative from Tuhoronuku and renaming Tuhoronuku.
- View the report at www.tuhoronuku.com/panui-news/a-statement-by-the-ngapuhi-engagement-group. Ngapuhi can email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 29.