20 Aug 2018

'We did not want to be held ransom by a process'

4:46 pm on 20 August 2018

Tauranga Moana iwi have rejected Tikanga talks to settle a Treaty dispute, Hauraki iwi say.

Tupuna Maunga o Tamaki Makaurau Authority chairman Paul Majurey

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Three Tauranga iwi strongly oppose the Pare Hauraki Collective Deed, and have repeatedly called for a tikanga process to resolve the issues.

But the signing went ahead this month, and Tauranga iwi said that process was no longer valid and they were taking their concerns to the Waitangi Tribunal.

On 2 August, Hauraki iwi descended upon Parliament for the signing of the Pare Hauraki Collective Deed.

Tauranga Moana iwi have been demanding a tikanga (customary) process ahead of the Hauraki signing, saying the deed wrongfully encroaches on their territory.

That tension spilled over at Parliament grounds the day of the signing, with Ngāi Te Rangi erupting into a fiery protest.

Hauraki iwi spokesman Paul Majurey said he had since tried to instigate a tikanga process with Tauranga Moana iwi, but his attempts had failed.

"To date, the response from Tauranga Moana is that they do not want to do that.

"They have an action in the Waitangi Tribunal and they want to see that through before they have those talks with us."

Mr Majurey said Hauraki maintained they would enter into a tikanga process after the signing of the deed, not beforehand.

"We did not want to be held ransom by a process that no one knows where it might go and since the deed was signed, we have had that deafening silence.

"One interpretation is that that really was trying to game the system of holding up the settlement."

A tikanga process is determined by the relevant iwi groups, but is generally a face to face process that identifies whakapapa and seeks to resolve differences.

Mr Majurey said the controversy around their settlement has at times been challenging, but the iwi are holding their heads high.

He said there was mamae (hurt) after the protest at their signing, because of the state of the relationships.

"These issues have been between Pare Hauraki and Tauranga for centuries."

A tikanga process could impact aspects of the Tauranga Moana Framework and should still go ahead.

Ngāi Te Rangi chair Charlie Tawhiao said it rejected a tikanga process now, because it was not tika (valid).

"We have got no confidence in that process with them anymore."

Ngāi Te Rangi has a claim relating to the Pare Hauraki settlement before the Waitangi Tribunal.

"The only talks we feel comfortable having now are ones before the tribunal," Mr Tawhiao said.

There are at least 16 claims before the tribunal that relate to the deed or the process that lead to it. The tribunal has appointed a panel to decide whether the claims are to be heard under urgency.

One claimant, Tauranga man Patrick Nicholas said the time for a tikanga process was before the deed was signed.

"Everyone realises it is a bit of a farce."

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