7 May 2015

Uenuku prepares for land claim negotiations

7:04 am on 7 May 2015

A Whanganui tribe is galvanising its members to strengthen its negotiating position with the Crown.

Raetihi township

Raetihi township Photo: SUPPLIED

Ngāti Uenuku, which is based in Raetihi and around the middle reaches of the Whanganui River, is running a campaign to get as many members as possible onto its tribal database.

In February last year, it established itself as an iwi entity and then formed the Uenuku Charitable Trust.

It's now one of the four large natural groups within the rohe seeking to negotiate Treaty of Waitangi land claims with the Crown.

The tribe's beneficiary registrar, Kahurangi Simon, said it was using different ways to reach out to its members.

"Get the word out to as many people via the social media that is available", Mr Simon said.

"We also have radio interviews, there are also spreads in the local papers - not forgetting the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

"Basically the idea was to try and spam out as much as we can but at the same time try to maintain the integrity of Uenuku and what we're all about."

He said there used to be only one tribal entity that negotiated land claims with the Crown - but now there were four.

"Originally there was one collective one that was for Whanganui: Mai i te kāhui maunga ki tangaroa (representing the iwi from the mountains to the sea), but since the process began we've ended up with various others wanting to stand on their own."

He acknowledged that there were overlapping land claims with neighbours Ngāti Rangi, who are based around Mt Ruapehu; Ngāti Haua, who are based in Taumarunui and the upper reaches of the Whanganui River; and also with some hapū in the middle reaches.

Mr Simon said that people from the Whanganui River and Ruapehu District were connected very closely through whakapapa (genealogy).

Horowhenua tribe gives guidance

Mr Simon said the trust had enlisted the help of another iwi from Horowhenua to help it plan its Treaty of Waitangi negotiation strategy.

"The [trust's] project manager Steven Hirini came on board with the communications manager, they both have the expertise that they've brought to the table after being integral to the Muaūpoko negotiations with the Crown," he said.

"[It] will assist Uenuku to do this [campaign to get more members registered] and to let people know ko Uenuku tēnei e tū nei (this is Uenuku that stands here) and their pēpeha (tribal proverb) ko Ruapehu te maunga, ko Manganuiateao te awa, ko Tūroa te tangata, ko Uenuku te iwi (Ruapehu is the mountain, Manganuiateao is the river, Tūroa is the ancestral chief and Uenuku is the tribe)."

Mr Simon said that it was all part of the tribe's 2020 strategy to gear Ngāti Uenuku up for the next five years and beyond.

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