25 May 2015

Hapu group will continue opposition

8:51 am on 25 May 2015

A Northland group which opposes an agreement between the Crown and Ngāpuhi says it will continue its stand until the bitter end.

The Tūhoronuku Independent Mandated Authority, which represents Ngāpuhi and its numerous hapū, has signed terms of negotiation with the Crown, meaning the parties can begin work on the iwi's Treaty claims and start full negotiations.

Pita Tipene, co-chair of Te Kōtahitanga o ngā hapū o Ngāpuhi, said there were still outstanding issues involving the Waitangi Tribunal inquiry into the Crown's decision to recognise Tūhoronuku's mandate.

Mr Tipene said his group would urge Ngāpuhi iwi members to reject any developments until the mandate issue had been resolved.

Pita Tipene.

Pita Tipene. Photo: RNZ

"We're going to continue to oppose, and we'll oppose until the bitter end, until we get somebody who is prepared to listen and hear us, because nobody is," Mr Tipene said.

"And we'll continue to go through litigation, even when they [Tūhoronuku] may negotiate a settlement and have to ratify it through our iwi, we will be convincing our iwi to vote it down."

Mr Tipene said confirmation from Minister of Treaty Negotiations Chris Finlayson that the signing of the terms of negotiation would not interfere with the Waitangi Tribunal inquiry into the Crown's decision to acknowledge Tūhoronuku's mandate did not make him feel any more comfortable about it.

He said Ngāpuhi needed to be given the space to sort things out.

Mr Tipene said because the Crown was backing Tūhoronuku, anything Mr Finlayson had to say did not convince him that it was dealing with the issue in good faith.