18 May 2018

Anger at a Treaty process which pits iwi against iwi

4:21 pm on 18 May 2018

Analysis: Anger and frustration boiled over at a hikoi to Parliament yesterday, because some iwi feel the Crown is taking their mana and giving it away, writes Shannon Haunui-Thompson

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Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

During the hikoi to parliament yesterday a Tauranga Moana kaumātua couldn't contain his emotions.

Bobby Rolleston was angry, upset but like many of those in the hikoi, he was frustrated.

Frustrated at a Treaty process which has pitted iwi against iwi, hapū against hapū.

Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective settled their treaty claim in 2015.

The Pare Hauraki Collective represents 12 iwi and are waiting for their Deed of Settlements to be signed.

Seems pretty straight forward, two different treaty claims and two different Deeds of Settlement.

But it's not that simple, iwi and hapū have to define themselves and provide evidence as to who they are, where and how they suffered loss and their connections to the lands they are making a claim for.

It's true to say most iwi and hapū are inter-connected, some of the best Māori orators are able to recite their kinship to all iwi in the country.

However, most iwi who lodge claims over a certain area are mana whenua or haukāinga.

Those who have territorial and occupational rights and have nutured the lands they still have, looked after their local marae and kept the home fires burning.

Tauranga Moana iwi have never disputed the fact that the Hauraki Collective have whakapapa or genealogical links to them but they aren't happy they are laying claim to plots of land in the Tauranga area and being given a seat of authority on the Tauranga Harbour board.

A seat on a governance board which effectively controls the harbour, the centre piece of their tribal identity.

So, despite the nice lines on the map and the historical connections validated by the Crown, Tauranga Moana iwi believe as mana whenua they should be the only iwi with authority over the harbour.

The Tauranga Moana Collective believe the treaty deal will take their authority and give it to another iwi that is not mana whenua, shifting the power of Tauranga Moana iwi to Hauraki iwi.

Some may say it's only one seat on a board but that one seat represents "mana".

To them, the Crown is taking their mana and giving it away.

Ngai Te Rangi of Tauranga Moana want a traditional tikanga process to take place between the individual iwi that make up the Hauraki Collective.

They want a kanohi ki te kanohi hui, a face to face meeting, and hear those iwi lay out the basis of their claims in a tikanga based forum where those claims can be discussed and debated, and evidence laid out in front of everyone.

Since the hikoi, Treaty minister Andrew Little has extended the deadline for all iwi groups involved and effected by the Pare Hauraki Collective settlement to Friday 25 May.

"I will consider any new information received by this date when I make my decision concerning the signing of the Deed of Settlement," says Mr Little.