21 Jan 2019

Far north hapū form alliances for future negotiation

5:09 pm on 21 January 2019

Ngāpuhi hapū that do not agree on a mandate for Treaty negotiation are not opposed on fundamental issues affecting the iwi, a member of one says.

The Treaty of Waitangi. He Tohu, a new permanent exhibition of three iconic constitutional documents that shape Aotearoa New Zealand. Treaty of Waitangi, Declaration of Independence and Women's Suffrage Petition.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

This weekend, hundreds of hapū members gathered at Kohewhata Marae in Kaikohe to figure out their next moves.

The Tuhoronuku mandate, which failed a vote by Ngāpuhi last year, has been a major source of division for the iwi.

This latest hui was attended by hapū who both supported and did not support the mandate.

Whangarei hapū member Huhana Lyndon said the mandate vote had been traumatic for the iwi - but hapū were moving forward.

Ms Lyndon said at the hui the hapū agreed the Tuhoronuku mandate needed to be removed.

"The threat remains because the mandate has not been removed by the Crown so that's an ongoing issue for the people of Ngāpuhi."

Ms Lyndon said the mandate process had mobilised people and that a number of hapū groups had formed alliances for future negotiation.

However, she said there still needed to be a model to deal with iwi-wide issues.

"What was clear through the vote is Ngāpuhi don't agree with that centralised model but they do require an ongoing connectiveness because there are those things that are Ngāpuhi wide - constitutional, education, te reo."

The hapū would meet again in three months to track progress on settlement issues.

However, Tūhoronuku chairman Hone Sadler said its mandate posed no threat to other Ngāpuhi hapū looking to move forward with their treaty settlement.

Mr Sadler said all 31 hapū who backed the mandate would move forward, although he expected changes to be made.

"I'm not going to pre-empt how that may change but it will change, it has to change - and it will not be a Tuhoronuku once the changes have been made."

He said the mandate being in place would not have any impact on other hapū groups wanting to pursue their own settlement.

"If they weren't going to go with the evolved mandate they would have to meet the criteria in terms of the large natural grouping."

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