MEDIA RELEASE: Patuharakeke Te Iwi Hapu withdraws from upcoming elections for the Ngatiwai Trust Board

Patuharakeke hapu has decided not to participate in the upcoming three yearly elections for the Ngatiwai Trust Board (NTB) in order to protect its hapu rangatiratanga and hapu tikanga. This situation has been forced upon Patuharakeke by the refusal of the Crown to allow Patuharakeke to be a part of a large natural grouping of its choosing but rather placing its historical Treaty of Waitangi claims under the mandate of three Iwi with overlapping claims in the rohe of Patuharakeke. Patuharakeke asserts its right to represent themselves in the settlement of their Waitangi Tribunal claims. (Patuharakeke has affiliations to several Iwi including Ngati Whatua, Ngapuhi and Ngatiwai)

The decision to withdraw has been endorsed by the Takahiwai Marae Committee (TMC) and Patuharakeke Trust Board (PTB) which is charged with managing Patuharakeke’s treaty claims settlements. TMC has had to take this important step of withdrawing marae representation from the NTB elections as a result of the Crown and NTB’s refusal to recognise the hapu rangatiratanga, sovereignty and the right of the hapu to self-determination. PTB and the TMC also oppose the nature in which the marae trustee position is being manipulated. Once elected the marae trustee is no longer on the NTB to only represent its marae but is there as a representative of all beneficiaries without a requisite mandate.

Schedule 1 of the NTB Trust Deed provides the mechanism for any of its affiliate marae to withdraw from the NTB trustee nomination process. TMC chairperson has said that, “We decided at our December meeting to holding our nominations back until this issue is addressed properly to Patuharakeke’s satisfaction.”

Patuharakeke was a claimant in the Urgency Hearing challenging the Tuhoronuku mandate for Ngapuhi to settle Treaty of Waitangi grievances and was then forced to respond to the Urgency Inquiry to the Crown’s mandating of NTB to do the same. The inquiry process highlighted how the current NTB structure, with representation through marae, does not recognise hapu rangatiratanga which was the central theme of the recent Urgency Hearing.

ENDS

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Contact Persons:   Guy Gudex 021 752 679; Jared Pitman 027 475 0635

 

 

 

FACT SHEET/FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why are hapu rangatiratanga and hapu tikanga important?

Hapu must retain the right to self-determine matters that directly affect them. Decisions must be made in accordance with tikanga – the traditional customs and guidelines for doing things in the right way. The Waitangi Tribunal has emphasised the need for the Crown to protect hapu rangatiratanga when negotiating settlement of historical claims.

Why has this action been taken?

Patuharakeke is a hapu whose rohe is in the South Whangarei District. Patuharakeke has presented detailed historical research of the evidence of Treaty breaches by the Crown in its rohe including specifically the confiscation of Te Poupouwhenua block at Marsden Point, the Crown purchases in the 1850’s including Ruakaka and Waipu land blocks and Public Works Act takings. From an original rohe of 100,000 acres, less than five acres remains in hapu ownership.

Patuharakeke has challenged the Crown’s large natural grouping policy that has resulted in Patuharakeke’s historical claims being included in the mandate of three Iwi – Ngati Whatua. Ngapuhi and Ngatiwai without any consultation with Patuharakeke by the Office of Treaty Settlements on behalf of the Crown.

The Waitangi Tribunal found in the Inquiry into the Tuhoronuku mandate that there not only needs to be workable withdrawal mechanisms for hapu who choose not to be included, but that also those hapu should be allowed to form alternative large natural groupings for settlement purposes. PTB has been mandated to represent Patuharakeke in the Treaty Claim process and this has included participation in the Urgency Hearing in 2015 into the Tuhoronuku mandate and the ongoing Te Paparahi o Te Raki inquiry. PTB works closely with the TMC and Takahiwai Marae Trustees. It has recently taken part in an Urgency Hearing into the Ngatiwai Mandate along with other claimant groups. Patuharakeke has opposed its inclusion in the NTB Deed of Mandate and the Crown’s recognition of the NTB DOM. The evidence for the Urgency Hearing was completed in December 2016 and the Report is expected mid-2017. The Waitangi Tribunal inquiry process has highlighted how the current NTB structure with representation through Marae does not reflect hapu rangatiratanga which has been the central theme of the recent Urgency Hearing.

What action has been taken prior to this?

In March 2016 TMC Chairperson wrote to NTB informing them that the Takahiwai Marae Trustee position on NTB would be vacated until further notice. Both the Crown and NTB stated in their evidence at the recent Urgency Hearing how much importance they place on the Marae representative demonstrating defacto hapu representation This position undermines the rangatiratanga of hapu. PTB as the mandated governance entity for Patuharakeke has also previously informed both NTB and the Crown that no other group has been given the mandate to settle Patuharakeke’s historical claims and to date this declaration has been ignored.

What are the consequences of this action?

This action sends a clear message to the Crown and NTB that hapu rangatiratanga must be respected and acknowledged and that the current NTB structure, with marae representation does not support that. Individual members of Patuharakeke who are registered with NTB will be unaffected by this action.

 What does this mean for the future?

Once the Waitangi Tribunal Report into the Ngatiwai mandate is released, mid 2017 Patuharakeke looks forward to reviewing those recommendations through Hui-a-Iwi. However, Patuharakeke represents its own interests until further notice by it through the PTB to all parties concerned.