Little hopeful of Ngāpuhi progress by Waitangi Day

2:44 pm on 18 November 2017

A new deadline for ending the deadlock over the Ngāpuhi Treaty settlement has been set for Waitangi Day next year.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little has met both parties in the iwi's long-running mandate dispute, in Waitangi.

Andrew Lititle speaking at Waitangi, 5 February 2017.

Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

The core issue is who will speak for Ngāpuhi's many hapū, in negotiations.

The chair of the mandate authority Hone Sadler said he believed that could be decided by February.

"We're really enthused about the outcome of the hui. The minister is not about to do away with the mandate, it's about how we strengthen the mandate.

Large numbers of Ngāpuhi people are expected at the hui today, as Mr Little sets out to resolve the settlement stalemate.

Mr Little said he was hopeful of progress on the Ngāpuhi mandate stand-off by next Waitangi Day.

The Tuhoronuku chair Hone Sadler was confident the representation row could be resolved by that date, but Mr Little would not go quite that far.

"That's a very ambitious goal. I think we certainly want to have something to be able to say by Waitangi Day."

Mr Little says the central issue for the Ngāpuhi settlement is ensuring the iwi's many hapū are properly represented in negotiations.

He's hoping to meet greater numbers of Ngāpuhi people at a public hui in Waitangi today.

A Ngāpuhi hapū spokesman Pita Tipene said the government should decide by Waitangi Day what to do about the iwi's mandate dispute.

Ngāpuhi people want to move on and settle their claims, he said.

The only obstacle was Tuhoronuku: the board whose mandate to negotiate a settlement was found unfit for purpose by the Waitangi Tribunal, Mr Tipene said.

Mr Tipene said Mr Little will have to decide soon whether to untangle the Gordian knot - or cut the rope, and consign Tuhoronuku to the past.