Disappointment whanau may miss out on attending urgency hearing

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Dr Hauata Palmer and John Clark from the Waitangi Tribunal welcomed to the urgency hearing into Ngatiwai Trust Board's deed of mandate held in Whangarei in October. Photo / Tania Whyte
Dr Hauata Palmer and John Clark from the Waitangi Tribunal welcomed to the urgency hearing into Ngatiwai Trust Board's deed of mandate held in Whangarei in October. Photo / Tania Whyte

The Ngatiwai Trust Board and claimants opposing the Crown's recognition of its mandate are disappointed that whanau may miss out on the final two days of urgency hearings because they're being held in Wellington.

Two final days for the Waitangi Tribunal Hearing into the Crown's recognition of the Ngatiwai Trust Board's deed of mandate will be held in Wellington today and tomorrow after time ran out at a three-day hearing at Whangarei's Toll Stadium in October.

But the fact whanau will have to travel to the Waitangi Tribunal Offices in the capital has disappointed claimants and the Ngatiwai Trust Board (NTB).

Claimant Huhana Lyndon said claimants put their own money and time into preparing and attending urgency hearings and the Wellington venue had caused some constraints.

"We sought twice to have the hearings in Whangarei. It is a huge financial constraint. It impacts the ability to move whanau from Whangarei to Wellington."

Waitangi Tribunal Judge Sarah Reeves said because it was an urgency hearing it was best for the extra days to be scheduled in Wellington.

"Our priority is to complete the evidential part of the inquiry as expeditiously as possible, this year. The best way to achieve this is by holding the hearing in Wellington," she said.

Ngatiwai Trust Board chairman Haydn Edmonds said it wasn't ideal to travel to Wellington to complete this process.

"It was great to see our iwi, especially our kaumatua and kuia come out in mass in October for the first three days of the hearings, with many that want to see out this kaupapa to completion. Travelling to Wellington may be too far for many, and it is disappointing that a large number of them will be unable to attend."

Mr Edmonds said the board were assisting whanau with travel and accommodation with kaumatua and kuia given first priority.

The board offered to assist several claimants get to the hearings with about 55 people travelling to Wellington together.

"This has been a massive task for us logistically and with significant cost, however this is what has been put upon us from the Tribunal."

An incorrect version of a story on Ngatiwai urgent hearings was published in yesterday's Advocate due to a publishing error. The Northern Advocate apologises for the mistake.

- Northern Advocate

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