Urgent iwi issues hearing to be held in October

By Mikaela Collins

Haydn Edmonds, chairman of the Ngatiwai Trust Board.
Haydn Edmonds, chairman of the Ngatiwai Trust Board.

Ngatiwai hapu and whanau will gather in Whangarei in October for an urgent hearing into issues regarding the Ngatiwai Trust Board's deed of mandate.

Several Ngatiwai claimants asked the Waitangi Tribunal for an urgent hearing, following the Crown's recognition of the Ngatiwai Trust Board's deed of mandate to negotiate claims on behalf of whanau earlier this year.

About 10 groups from Ngatiwai applied for urgency saying the board's mandate was seriously flawed and, in May, the Tribunal decided to grant an urgent hearing. The hearing will be held from October 4 to 6 at Toll Stadium, Whangarei.

Several issues will be discussed at the hearing, including how the Crown required the trust board to show support for their mandate, and to what extent that support was shown.

Haydn Edmonds, chairman of the Ngatiwai Trust Board, said he was hopeful the board could meet with some of the claimants to negotiate through the issues ahead of the hearings.

"We have always maintained an open door policy and we want to korero with any claimant who is willing to discuss and work through these issues together," Mr Edmonds said.

"At the end of the day, I still hold the hope that we can come together as Te Iwi O Ngatiwai and get the best possible outcome out of this Treaty claims pathway for all of Ngatiwai."

Meanwhile, the trust board has pushed pause on any decisions concerning the establishment of the supporting structures in the deed of mandate including: the negotiations team, kaumatua advisers, hapu and marae representatives, the research group and two additional Treaty claims committee members.

It's not the first time the Crown's recognition of an iwi's deed of mandate has been challenged in Northland.

Tuhoronuku's mandate to negotiate on behalf of Ngapuhi saw several hapu lodge applications with the Waitangi Tribunal for urgency hearings.

Following those hearings the Tribunal released a report which said while Tuhoronuku's mandate was legitimate, their structures undermined the sovereignty of hapu.

As a result, an engagement group comprising the Crown, Tuhoronuku and Te Kotahitanga (a group which challenged the mandate) was established to address issues raised in the report.

- Northern Advocate

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