James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Hui postponed after threats cause safety concerns

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Organisers of information hui about the Ngapuhi Treaty settlement are considering upping security after talks were called off because of safety concerns.

Today's planned Tuhoronuku Information Hui in Paihia and at Whangarei were postponed after organisers received threats causing safety concerns.

The Tuhoronuku Independent Mandated Authority (Tuhoronuku IMA) is holding hui around the country and in Sydney and Perth to brief tribal members on the IMA election process, the next steps for the Ngapuhi Treaty settlement and its mandate, that was last month recognised by the Crown.

But the mandate is fiercely opposed by factions within the country's largest iwi including a group who want the Waitangi Tribunal to complete its current hearing of about 360 Ngapuhi Treaty claims before negotiating settlement.

It is unclear what the threats were but Tuhoronuku hapu kaikorero facilitator Kipa Munro said organisers received calls that concerned them.

Mr Munro said upping security could be considered at the next hui in Wellington on Monday although their preference was to debate issues.

Tuhoronuku interim chairman Raniera (Sonny) Tau said while it was disappointing the settlement would not be derailed "by a small group who choose to ignore the decision of Ngapuhi" and the hui at Paihia and Whangarei would be rescheduled.

"The sixth of February at Waitangi is the time for protest, not when we are trying to brief our people who are genuinely concerned about the future advancement of our people," he said.

"The needs and future of the Ngapuhi nation and our people are paramount."

Kaikorero for Te Kapotai and Nga hapu o te takutai moana Willow-Jean Prime said a number of people were waving banners and placards but police advised the gathering the hui had been cancelled before they could present their concerns.

Asked if he was concerned about the postponements, Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said: "there's going to be a lot of noise up there and there are always going to be protests."

He said there were also protests at Te Hapua after the Ngati Kuri signing.

"So my personal belief is it will settle down in due course. Let everyone vent their anger and then just see the potential Shane and I have been talking about, and others have been talking about.

"I mean, if you've got Shane [Jones], Titewhai and me all in the same waka, that's a pretty good start."

- NZ Herald

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