3 Aug 2018

Pare Hauraki Collective Settlement: Joy and tears for iwi

8:59 pm on 3 August 2018

The Pare Hauraki Collective Settlement was signed yesterday in an emotional ceremony that brought many of its people to tears.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little at the Pare Hauraki Collective Settlement signing.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little at the Pare Hauraki Collective Settlement signing. Photo: RNZ/Richard Tindiller

But what was supposed to be a day of relief and joy for the people of Hauraki, turned sour when a group of protesters from another iwi confronted them on the forecourt of Parliament.

Te Aniwa Hurihanganui explains everything you need to know about the dispute.

What happened at Parliament?

There was screaming, chanting and crying as about 30 protesters from Tauranga iwi, Ngāi Te Rangi, were restrained by security staff.

The protesters had erupted shortly after two bus loads of people from the Pare Hauraki Collective arrived at Parliament for the signing of their treaty settlement.

Some protesters held signs reading "takahi mana, takahi tikanga," meaning trampling on our mana, trampling on our customs.

Ngāi Te Rangi kaumātua, Bob Rolleston, said the signing of the Pare Hauraki settlement was like a funeral to them.

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The signing ceremony at Parliament Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

So why were they upset?

This has been an ongoing issue for many years now, and it all centres on what are known as "overlapping claims".

They are when two or more iwi have ties to the same area of land, but the Crown recognises one group's rights to the land over another.

In this case, the Pare Hauraki Collective, a group of 12 iwi based from North Auckland to Coromandel, claims it has rights to the Tauranga Harbour and Matakana Island - areas Tauranga iwi, Ngāi Te Rangi, believe are within its own tribal boundaries.

Despite continue protest from Ngāi Te Rangi, the Crown initialled a deed of settlement with the Pare Hauraki Collective in 2016 that would give them governing rights over both areas.

A group of Tauranga iwi were refused entry at Parliament.

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

How has Hauraki iwi responded?

The Pare Hauraki Collective has defended its whakapapa or genealogical links to Tauranga since its claims were first lodged with the Waitangi Tribunal 40 years ago. Over the last 10 years of negotiating its settlement with the Crown, it has argued those links are strong enough to receive governing rights.

A Waitangi Tribunal report released in 2004 found Pare Hauraki did have interests in Tauranga. The Crown granted them rights as a result, despite continued oppostion from Ngāi Te Rangi.

Ngāi Te Rangi had hoped the overlapping issues could be resolved separately from the settlement, through a "tikanga-process". Through that process, the two groups could discuss overlapping claims on a marae and come to a consensus.

But Pare Hauraki said they would only meet with Tauranga iwi once the settlement was signed.

What has the Crown done about the overlapping claims?

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little has met with both groups to try and find a solution. Earlier this year, he agreed the best way to resolve the overlapping claims would be on the marae, without the Crown involved.

However, the Pare Hauraki Collective would not budge. It stuck by its decision not to meet with Ngāi Te Rangi until its treaty settlement was signed.

The minister made the call last week to move on with the settlement, despite ongoing protests from Ngāi Te Rangi.

Mr Little said amendments had been made to the settlement, with areas of interest to Tauranga iwi left out, so both groups could resolve their overlapping claims on the marae.

However, recognition that the Pare Hauraki Collective do have rights to the Tauranga Harbour and Matakana remain in the settlement.

So what now?

Maia Wharekura, a representative of Ngāi Te Rangi, said the iwi would continue to fight for mana whenua over Matakana and the Tauranga Harbour. Whether that will be through a tikanga-process or not is unclear at this stage.

Pare Hauraki lead negotiator Paul Majurey said he was optimistic a tikanga process could still happen, despite a tension-filled signing day.

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