Iwi, hapū at odds over urban board seat

11:22 pm on 2 July 2016

Urban Māori representation is the last sticking point in the stand-off over who gets to control the Ngāpuhi Treaty settlement.

A group of protesters - including members of rival faction Te Kotahitanga - take to the streets to oppose Tūhoronuku's appointment to carry out treaty negotiations on behalf of Ngāpuhi.

Protesters took to the streets in September to oppose Tūhoronuku's appointment to carry out treaty negotiations on behalf of Ngāpuhi. Photo: TE KOTAHITANGA

Tūhoronuku, the board whose mandate to negotiate a settlement was accepted by the government, has agreed to a number of major changes, after the Waitangi Tribunal found its mandate was flawed.

After months of discussions within the iwi, Tūhoronuku has now accepted that hapū should drive the settlement and choose their own representatives on a new board, reduced from 22 trustees to six.

It also agreed to scrap the dedicated Ngāpuhi rūnanga seat on the board, and a seat reserved for kuia and kaumātua.

But it was still at odds with hapū alliance Te Kōtahitanga over whether there should be a seat for the majority of Ngāpuhi who were living in Auckland - many of whom had lost contact with their hapū in the north.

A spokesman for Te Whiu hapū, Sam Napia, who is also a Tūhoronuku trustee, said trustees had effectively voted themselves out of a job by accepting most of the recommendations of a joint working party.

Mr Napia said the unanimous vote, moved by former chair Sonny Tau, was a brave step that cleared the way forward.

However, Mr Napia said Tūhoronuku believed there should still be a seat on the board for urban Ngāpuhi, because that was overwhelmingly the feedback that had been received from those whānau.

Tūhoronuku spokeswoman Moana Tuwhare said trustees could not accept the hapū alliance position that the urban Māori seat should go.

She said a lot of Auckland whānau either did not know their hapū, or did not feel confident about seeking representation through the hapū, as Te Kōtahitanga wanted.

Mrs Tuwhare said the whole aim of restructuring the mandate was to include everyone, and urban Māori wanted to be represented in the settlement process by their own trustee.

"It was the fundamental goal, if you like, of this whole process to be as inclusive as possible and bring our people together to unite the iwi.

"We didn't want to dispossess or disenfranchise anybody, in particular the very large urban Ngāpuhi population."

Mrs Tuwhare said work would continue on resolving the opposing views.

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