The Waitangi Tribunal has completed a hearing in Napier with the Crown defending claims that it let claimants down by not ensuring the proper mandating and operation of the trust it accepted to manage the proceeds.

The hearing at the East Pier conference centre on the shores of Ahuriri started on Monday.

It was initiated by Waiohiki hapu Ngati Paarau which argued the Crown breached principles of the Treaty of Waitangi in its mandating of Manu Ahuriri Incorporated and what the hapu says was the ignoring of concerns about post-settlement governance entity Manu Ahuriri Trust (MAT).

Mana Ahuriri is the Post Settlement Governance Entity (PSGE) accepted in 2010 by then Treaty Settlements Minister Chris Finlayson as the legal entity to represent the claims' seven hapu, and which had to be ratified and established under a strict process before settlement with the Crown could take place.


The purpose of a PSGE is to hold and manage the settlement redress that is transferred to the claimant group under a Deed of Settlement.

The original claims were heard by the tribunal variously since 1993 and date back to the times of the Crown's 1851 Ahuriri Purchase, including WAI 55, the Napier inner harbour claim on which the tribunal had reported in favour of the claimants, including a remedies report in 1998.

Ngati Paarau concerns focused on claimed deficiencies in Mana Ahuriri membership registration and settlement ratification voting procedures, and failure to hold annual meetings and elections and furnish annual financial statements.

Ngati Paarau counsel Matanuku Mahuika said the Crown was solely driven by the desire to complete a settlement, and it led to the Crown not addressing major flaws in the settlement that threatened the durability and robustness of the settlement.

In an opening address he said it was clear the mandate was not maintained, and that Manu Ahuriri had an ongoing failure to comply with its constitution and other mandate requirements.

The claims were rebuffed by MAT chairman Piriniha Prentice saying he did not accept the allegation that elections had not been held according to the constitution, and in explaining a delay in presentation of audited accounts said that all accounts had now been presented and obtained unqualified audits.

The hearing ended early on Wednesday afternoon. The tribunal, headed by Chief Judge Wilson Isaacs expects to report in the next few months with claimants hoping for recommendations to Crown settlements agency Te Arawhiti, which now has the role of the previous Office of Treaty Settlements.