6 Aug 2012

Government seeks to appease angry Ngati Wai

7:00 am on 6 August 2012

Changes being made to planned Treaty settlement legislation covering Hauturu/Little Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf have been likened to putting icing sugar on arsenic.

Some Ngati Wai people say the redress for the Ngati Manuhiri hapu would undermine the customary rights of Ngati Wai.

As part of the package, Ngati Manuhiri would own the island for a week then hand it back to the Crown.

That agreement has angered some members of Ngati Wai - which has prompted the Government to introduce a new clause in the bill, saying other tribes won't be shut out of managing the island.

A descendent of Ngati Wai, Natasha Sadler, says she's not pleased with the ministerial response. She says their taonga is still being given back to the Government without consultation with the wider iwi.

However, the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Christopher Finlayson, says he is providing further assurance to the Ngati Wai community by amending the bill.

He says a new clause will say: "For the avoidance of doubt, the gift-back is not intended to convey exclusive manawhenua over Te Hauturu-o-Toi-Little Barrier Island."