2 Aug 2018

Angry scenes as Hauraki iwi arrive for settlement signing

5:52 pm on 2 August 2018

About 100 people from Hauraki iwi were met by protesters from the Tauranga Moana iwi when they arrived to sign their collective deed of settlement this morning.

The government signed the Pare Hauraki collective redress deed today despite fierce opposition from several iwi.

The Hauraki Collective deal is worth more than $250 million, and will be shared between 12 iwi.

It comes after more than half of their land was confiscated and sold through unfair private sales. Today the iwi retain just 2.6 percent of their original estate.

Two bus loads of people from the 12 iwi, stretching from North Auckland to the Coromandel, arrived just after 9am for the signing ceremony.

They were met by a group of 30 Tauranga Moana iwi members, who are opposed to the settlement.

Parliamentary security had to hold back people from each other, as they got face to face, screaming, crying and chanting.

Some of the iwi have had to be taken to hospital after a bus they took on their return from Parliament rolled down a bank.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little said this went further than normal protests at Parliament, and appeared to try to undermine the mana of the Hauraki iwi.

He said it was disappointing, as the normal protocol between iwi was that they get to sign their treaty settlement in peace.

He was now urging Hauraki and Tauranga Moana iwi to proceed with a tikanga process where they sort things out on the marae, he said.

Tauranga Moana descendant Meremaihi Aloua cried out "traitor" as she held a banner alongside other women.

She earlier said they wanted to make it known that they did not support the Hauraki settlement.

"We are at a loss here," she said.

"Today, our moana is being signed off and we are not okay about that. We are here to oppose that.

"We have tried to have korero with them through tikanga and they have refused at every turn."

The Tauranga Moana iwi said the redress will give Hauraki iwi rights to Tauranga Harbour, and they oppose that.

On the other hand, a kaumatua from a Hauraki iwi, Koro Ngapo, said today's treaty signing meant his people could now move forward.

"There's mixed emotions. I think for us it's about acknowledging what the crown has done and for us it's about moving on as best as we can."

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The signing ceremony at Parliament Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

When Tauranga Moana iwi members arrived this morning, they were refused access to Parliament, because of concerns that they were there to protest.

Waikato-Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey told the group that there were seats set up outside for them and that they would not be let in.

The group waited peacefully at the entrance for about 20 minutes, forcing staff to open a different entry point for others to access Parliament.

Ngāi Te Rangi chairman Charlie Tawhiao said the settlement will give Hauraki iwi mana whenua status in Tauranga where they don't traditionally come from.

He said a tikanga approach needs to be used to sort through issues of overlapping iwi interest.

A last minute request for an injunction from John Tamihere of Ngāti Porou ki Hauraki was declined by the High Court.

Mr Tamihere said Ngāti Porou ki Hauraki had faced prejudice at the hands of the Crown during the Treaty settlement process.

He argued the Crown had colluded with its preferred group, effectively excluding all other claimants.

A group of Tauranga iwi were refused entry at Parliament.

Tauranga Moana iwi members were refused access to Parliament Photo: RNZ / Te Aniwa Hurihanganui