Ngatiwai mandate challenged

By Mikaela Collins

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MILESTONE: Ngatiwai's mandate for Treaty negotiations will be challenged next week. PHOTO/JOHN STONE
MILESTONE: Ngatiwai's mandate for Treaty negotiations will be challenged next week. PHOTO/JOHN STONE

Ngatiwai claimants are hoping an urgent hearing into the Crown's recognition of the Ngatiwai Trust Board's mandate will pause negotiations so whanau who want to be involved in the process can have a "serious talk".

The Waitangi Tribunal is holding an urgent hearing, starting tomorrow at Toll Stadium in Whangarei, on claims lodged by 10 groups who oppose the Government's decision to recognise Ngatiwai Trust Board's (NTB) mandate to negotiate claims on behalf of the iwi.

Claimant Huhana Lyndon said reaching this point was a "significant milestone" for hapu.
"[The Tribunal] recognise the fact that our evidence has demonstrated we have significant prejudice with the Crown's recognition of the NTB deed of mandate."

Ms Lyndon said some claimants, like herself and her whanau, would like negotiations to pause so hapu could have a serious korero about the future of the iwi and potential Treaty settlement.

Other hapu wanted to withdraw from the "flawed" mandate.

"Under the mandate, the Crown accepted there is no solid recognition for hapu within the structure. Another issue is that the process was flawed and there were multiple concerns raised by claimants and whanau over a number of years regarding the mandate strategy itself and the [NTB] as well as the Crown failed to recognise those issues," she said

Haydn Edmonds, chairman of the NTB, said it was inappropriate for the board to comment at this time.

It is not the first time the Crown's recognition of a deed of mandate has led to an urgency hearing.

Ms Lyndon said parallels could be drawn between the Crown's recognition of the Tuhoronuku mandate, which is now under threat, and its recognition of the NTB's deed of mandate.

"I'm equally as Ngapuhi as I am Ngatiwai ... I think it's timely, and it's a warning to our various hapu around the country that we need to learn from what [is] happening within Ngapuhi to find a way to be cohesive and work hard to hear our people's voices."

Claimant Mylie George, from hapu Te Uri o Hikihiki, said the NTB's mandate was not current.

Of the 2735 voting papers that were issued about the mandate, 772 votes were cast, a 28.2 per cent participation rate.

Of these votes, 82 per cent were in favour of the Ngatiwai Trust Board's mandate proposal.

An online petition by Ms George and other whanau showed more than 600 people have agreed the mandate does not support hapu rangatiratanga, she said.

Ms George hoped the hearing would pause negotiations.

"What our family is looking to do is to pause the current mandate, to stop it because there's lots of work that needs to be done."

- Northern Advocate

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