Te Arawa trust: Waikato iwi move is imperialism

By Dana Kinita

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Ngati Raukawa has included a map of where its people have a connection or association as part of its Treaty claims settlement deed.
Ngati Raukawa has included a map of where its people have a connection or association as part of its Treaty claims settlement deed.

A Te Arawa trust is accusing a South Waikato iwi of "modern-day imperialism" for claiming land by association that is beyond its area.

Te Arawa River Iwi Trust (TARIT) has made a submission to the Maori Affairs Select Committee objecting to a map that was submitted by Raukawa. It had been accepted by the Crown and formed part of the Raukawa Claims Settlement Bill which was expected to be passed by Parliament next year.

TARIT worked on behalf of iwi affiliates Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa, Ngati Kea-Ngati Tuara and Tuhourangi tribal authority and represented their interests in the Waikato River and its catchment.

Ngati Raukawa has included a map of where its people have a connection or association as part of its Treaty claims settlement deed.
Ngati Raukawa has included a map of where its people have a connection or association as part of its Treaty claims settlement deed.


Representative Robyn Bargh said although it supported the deed of settlement it had issue with the inclusion of the map. Areas featured on the document included parts of Lake Rotorua down to Lake Taupo, traditionally Te Arawa and Tuwharetoa regions.

Raukawa has said in a disclaimer the map did not depict a tribal boundary or define an area of mana whenua (customary authority). It included areas and sites important to the iwi for a range of reasons including historical connections through to events connected to Treaty of Waitangi claims and Crown actions. It has said in some of these areas Raukawa does not have exclusive or predominant interests and acknowledges that in such areas other groups hold mana whenua.

However, Ms Bargh questioned what the purpose of the map was if it was not to define a particular boundary.

"It's a huge area and it goes right through the Te Arawa territory. We are saying once the bill goes through the effect of the deed of settlement will kind of make it a fact," Ms Bargh said.

"This map has no purpose ... it does not describe an area that needs to be defined for this settlement, it is not part of the redress. So why is it there?"

Ms Bargh said it blamed the Crown for allowing it to be included as part of the Raukawa deed of settlement.

"It hasn't helped, in fact it has contributed to deterioration of iwi relationship," she said.

"Besides being an affront to Te Arawa, a significant outcome of this map is that some Te Arawa iwi do not appear to have any exclusive areas of interest - in other words Raukawa claims associations with all of the lands of those iwi," she said.

"In our view, this is modern-day imperialism with Ngati Raukawa trying to create an empire of their own."

Raukawa Settlement Trust chairwoman Vanessa Eparaima said the map was an acknowledgment of the close whakapapa connections to its neighbours.

"As a result, it is impossible for us to define an area of interest which does not overlap with others, as we overlap both in our whakapapa and geography. In these overlapping areas, it is often that very connection and overlap with our neighbours that makes these areas important to us. It would therefore be wrong, and disrespectful of us, to exclude these areas."

The Maori Affairs Select Committee has ordered an inquiry into the iwi's tribal territory.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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