14 Aug 2018

Claimant takes aim at Andrew Little over Hauraki deal

10:19 am on 14 August 2018

A Tauranga man is urging the Waitangi Tribunal to remove Andrew Little as Treaty Minister.

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

Patrick Nicholas has filed a claim to the Tribunal in relation to the controversial Pare Hauraki Collective Deed, signed on 2 August.

The Hauraki agreement will see financial redress of $250 million split between 12 Hauraki iwi, and the return of culturally significant sites.

It will also give Hauraki iwi rights to a block of forestry in Tauranga and a co-governance role for the Tauranga Harbour.

The agreement aims to rectify the significant historical land loss suffered by Hauraki iwi at the hands of the Crown, which has had a detrimental impact of their traditions, culture, reo and connections.

However, aspects of the settlement have been staunchly opposed by Tauranga Moana iwi, which say Hauraki have no mana whenua or mana moana in Tauranga.

Patrick Nicholas of Tauranga Moana has lodged a claim in the Waitangi Tribunal against the deed, with specific aim at Treaty Minister Andrew Little.

"Some of the statements he is making are not true," he said.

He said a tikanga hui held in 2009 between a small group of elders of Tauranga iwi and Hauraki iwi agreed Hauraki had no rights in Tauranga.

Patrick Nicholas and Kura Moeahu.

Patrick Nicholas and Kura Moeahu. Photo: Facebook

Mr Nicholas said Mr Little was relying on an incorrect interpretation of a 2004 Waitangi Tribunal report and was ignoring more recent evidence.

"It is actually very infuriating, if you understand what whakapapa is. There is two parts of whakapapa - you get it wrong, like Andrew Little is doing, it gets like you are taking us to war.

"But you get it right and you are bringing family together. You need to get the whakapapa right."

Protests against the agreement

Mr Nicholas' claim is one of 16 that are mounting against the Hauraki agreement and the process that led to it.

Tauranga iwi Ngai Te Rangi protested at Parliament on the morning the deed was signed there and it too has made a tribunal claim to fight it.

Iwi chairman Charlie Tawhiao said there was widespread concern over the agreement and the different layers to it.

"When is the government going to listen," he said.

"If you are looking to settle and achieve durable settlements and you have, before you even get out the gate, have upset 13 different claimants with what you intend to do to settle this claim, then you are not going to achieve durability or even fairness out of this."

Not all of the 12 iwi in the collective signed the deal, including Ngati Porou ki Hauraki.

Its negotiator John Tamihere said the agreement and the way it had been handled had prejudiced groups of people.

"We are noted in that Deed - the Crown knows we do not want to be part of it," he said.

Mr Tamihere said they were not invited to the signing ceremony and were only told it was happening two days beforehand.

"We find out through the back door, 48 hours before the minister is going to sign it, that they are rushing a signing in Parliament.

"I have to go to the High Court in Auckland to stop it with 48 hours notice. That is what they call a set up."

The last minute injunction failed and now the iwi is putting all its hopes into its own tribunal claim against the deed.

Mr Tamihere said it was a "last ditch attempt", but he was not calling for Mr Little to be sacked.

Mr Little has been asked for comment and has not yet responded.

The Waitangi Tribunal has appointed a panel to determine the applications for hearings under urgency in relation to Hauraki settlements.

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