The Government says Ngāpuhi hapū will have the opportunity rebuild a new model for Treaty negotiations, saying Tūhoronuku's mandate no longer provides for the kind of opportunities the Northland iwi are seeking.

It is the latest twist in what has been a windy road for the country's largest iwi.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta said that over the next six months the Crown would work closely with Ngāpuhi groups to establish a new process for building new and sustainable mandates for Ngāpuhi negotiations.

In 2014 the Crown recognised Tūhoronuku's mandate to negotiate Treaty of Waitangi claims on behalf of Ngāpuhi, that recognition was opposed by several hapū who went to the Waitangi Tribunal requesting an urgent inquiry. The tribunal found while Tūhoronuku's mandate was sound, its structures undermined hapū rangatiratanga.


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"TIMA [Tūhoronuku Independent Mandated Authority] has made an immense contribution in energising Ngāpuhi about the need to move towards resolution of their claims, and encouraging hapū, whānau and individuals to engage in and debate the search for a collective solution. These have often been hard conversations, but they are necessary ones," Little said.

Last year an evolved mandate proposal was developed through three rounds of consultation hui with the descendants and hapū of Ngāpuhi between July and October. A majority of hapū also rejected that mandate.

Mahuta said the Crown could not grant or discontinue a mandate, it could only recognise a mandate where and if it has been granted by iwi members.

"A mandate is not static. The mandate that TIMA previously held no longer provides for the kind of opportunities that Ngāpuhi have told us they are seeking," she said.

Today's announcement follows the exit of Hone Sadler as chairman of Tūhoronuku.

The ministers said the Crown was providing an opportunity for the hapū of Ngāpuhi to rebuild its framework from the ground up

"It has also become apparent that area-specific cultural redress is a bottom line for almost everyone involved. As a result, we are inviting proposals from takiwā [area] groups on how cultural redress can be negotiated for each takiwā, within a collective model," he said.

Little said the Government was also considering establishing a new Ngāpuhi sovereign investment fund. The idea of the fund, a detailed proposal for which has yet to be developed, would be to help provide assets which could be used in any agreement for redress with Ngāpuhi.


"Today's announcements give Ngāpuhi a fresh opportunity to build a cohesive mandate to negotiate redress for their claims, to push forward with area-specific cultural redress for their takiwā, and to see the fruits of what agreement with the Crown could bring for their people."