Three Treaty claimant resource centres to stay open

By Mike Barrington

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Tribunal presiding officer Judge Craig Coxhead listens to a submission. Photo / John Stone
Tribunal presiding officer Judge Craig Coxhead listens to a submission. Photo / John Stone

Resolution of legal issues stalling Crown Forestry Rental Trust funding has made cash again available for claimants in the Waitangi Tribunal's Te Paparahi o Te Raki inquiry.

The resumption of funding also enables retention of three Northland claimant resource centres which were expected to close this month.

CFRT funding director Rama Rewi told tribunal presiding officer Judge Craig Coxhead trustees had classified Te Waimate Taiamai Claims Alliance, Te Mana Motuhake Aa Rohe o Whangarei, and Te Kotahitanga o Nga Hapu Ngapuhi as approved clients and given the green light to their funding applications for hosting inquiry stage 2 hearings.

Trustees also approved funding for hosting stage 2 hearings for weeks 7-14 of the inquiry.

Trust staff would update the tribunal on funding for hearing weeks 15-21 later, Mr Rewi said.

At their meeting in November, 26 trustees had approved funding for approved clients' research and mapping activities, including expert witness presentation of evidence, gap-filling briefs of evidence, client-specific mapping, translations and a district overview map book.

Back in October, CFRT chair Angela Foulkes said the legal wrangle over the appointment of alternate trustees, which was then disrupting trust funding, would mean the CFRT-funded resource centres at Whangarei, Kawakawa, Kaikohe and Waipapa would close this month. The centres were opened in June last year to provide Treaty claimants with places to prepare for the tribunal's stage 2 hearings.

Later in October, Ms Foulkes said that although some issues were still set down for High Court resolution, those matters holding up funding applications had been concluded.

This week, Mr Rewi told Judge Coxhead the trust would cease to manage the four Northland resource centres on December 20.

"Trustees have approved funding for approved clients to take over management of the Kaikohe, Kawakawa, and Whangarei centres after that date."

But the resource centre at Waipapa would close on December 20, he said.

- Northern Advocate

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