Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson is putting the heat on the two sides in a standoff over Ngapuhi's Treaty settlement process to come to an agreement or get left behind in one of the country's most important settlements to date.

Tainui leader and former MP Tuku Morgan was called on by the Minister to break the impasse between the Ngapuhi runanga's Tuhoronuku committee, which believes it has the mandate to negotiate a direct settlement with the Crown, and the Ngapuhi hapu group Te Kotahitanga, which wants a full Waitangi Tribunal process.. Te Kotahitanga is also questioning the way hapu are represented in a Ngapuhi mandating body.

Mr Morgan has been meeting both sides, more than 200 Kotahitanga supporters gathered at Otiria Marae late last month to hear him, and has to deliver his report to Mr Finlayson by Friday.

The key issue Mr Morgan has been asked to resolve is how hapu will be represented on the Tuhoronuku committee.


In a letter sent to the two parties, Mr Finlayson said he expected them to work together to find a solution. He also made it clear that any side which failed to co-operate could be left out in the cold. "I expect both parties to work constructively with each other and Mr Morgan to develop a solution. Parties' willingness to do so will be a factor I take into account when I make my decisions. In this regard I will be informed by Mr Morgan's advice and my own observations," he wrote.

Other issues, such as Tuhoronuku's relationship with the runanga; the upcoming Waitangi Tribunal hearings; and funding for a representative body; could only be addressed after agreement had been reached on hapu representation, Mr Finlayson said.

The Minister said reaching an agreement in principle with Ngapuhi by 2014 was a priority. The leaders of the runanga and Te Kotahitanga, Sonny Tau and Pita Tipene, are keeping mum after an agreement last year not to speak out publicly.

Meanwhile, preparations are continuing for Stage 2 of Te Paparahi o Te Raki, also known as the Northland Inquiry. It pulls together more than 350 Ngapuhi claims and is likely to be one of the biggest, and most complicated, Treaty settlements to date.

Settlement timeline

  • July 4: The Crown filed its final statement of position and concessions

  • July 20: Tuku Morgan to deliver report on Tuhoronuku-Kotahitanga impasse to Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson

  • July 30: Judicial conference to hear parties' views on the Tribunal's draft statement of issues

  • August 30: Tribunal to file its final statement of generic issues for hearings

  • September 3: Judicial conference to plan "generic" hearings (ie Northland-wide issues)

  • February 18-23, 2013: Proposed dates for first week of generic hearings

  • Dates to be decided: Four more weeks of generic hearings, followed by hearings on specific local issues

  • 2014: When the Government wants to sign an agreement in principle with Ngapuhi.