Six iwi with grievances against the Crown's handling of the Pare Hauraki Treaty settlement will have their day in court next week.
Ngāi Te Rangi of Tauranga Moana will be the first of the six claimants to present to a Waitangi Tribunal inquiry hearing in Wellington on Monday.
The inquiry into overlapping claims in the settlement was set down for a week and will be heard under urgency by a panel of tribunal members Judge Miharo Armstrong, Professor Rawinia Higgins, David Cochrane and Dr Ruakere Hond.
Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little, who was not available for comment yesterday has signed the Pare Hauraki Collective Redress Deed with seven of the 12 iwi of Pare Hauraki.
The deed was not yet operative and the Crown has told the tribunal it did not intend to introduce the Hauraki settlement legislation to Parliament while the inquiry was ongoing.
A deed-signing ceremony in August followed more than a year of public protests led by Ngāi Te Rangi that culminated with a demonstration on the forecourt of Parliament at which one elder said the settlement would lead to "war".
In evidence submitted to the court, Ngāi Te Rangi Settlement Trust chairman Charlie Tawhiao called the settlement a "dirty deal, done dirt cheap".
He told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend it amounted to an "attack" on the cultural authority of Ngāi Te Rangi as some redress, including land, would give Hauraki undue influence and legal rights in Tauranga Moana, including in Resource Management Act matters.
"We support Hauraki iwi achieving a fair and durable settlement of their claims, but not at the cost of our mana and rangatiratanga," Tawhiao said.
He said there were many possible outcomes of the hearing, but the overall result he hoped for was proper recognition from the Crown of tikanga Māori as a culturally appropriate way to make decisions and sort out disputes.
While the claims to be heard were against the Crown and its process, Pare Hauraki will also be represented at the hearing.
A spokesman for the collective said the group would ask the tribunal to consider whether there was a rational basis for the settlement offers and whether claimants were given an opportunity to respond and have the responses considered by the Crown in decision making.
The spokesman said no iwi had ever had a "veto" over the settlement of another iwi, and other settled treaty claims had followed the same process the tribunal was being asked to find fault with.
Other iwi and iwi collectives with an interest in the inquiry will also be represented.
One of those groups, Waikato Tainui, applied to withdraw its urgency application on Wednesday after reaching a settlement with a group of Hauraki tribes negotiating a separate redress settlement, the Marutūāhu Iwi Collective Redress Deed.
Hauraki overlapping claims inquiry
Claims from these iwi will be heard under urgency in Wellington next week:
- Ngāi Te Rangi
- Ngāti Ranginui
- Te Whakakitenga
- Ngāti Manuhiri
- Ngāti Porou ki Hauraki.