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Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei welcomes tribunal findings

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust says the Waitangi Tribunal’s report into the Hauraki settlement overlapping claims inquiry is justifiably critical of the Crown and the Hauraki-Marutūāhu collective redress.

The damning report, released today, states that the Crown breached several of its Treaty obligations to Tauranga Moana iwi and Ngātiwai, including the principles of partnership and active protection.

The Tribunal found the Crown failed to act honourably and in good faith and its conduct created fresh grievances, fractured relationships and caused further delays to the settlement process.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust Deputy Chair Ngarimu Blair says the report confirms what Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has been saying for years and challenging all the way to the Supreme Court, and it is a big win for all iwi.

"The report reinforces the seriousness of the issues with the Crown’s approach to overlapping claims and its relationships with Tauranga Moana, Ngātiwai and all settled iwi, including Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei," he says.

"This is a win for Tauranga Moana and Ngātiwai, but it is also a win for the many iwi who have been concerned at the Crown’s approach to the Marutūāhu Collective and Pare Hauraki settlements.

"Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei is preparing our case for the High Court to get clarity about our legal rights and our tikanga rights, confirmed in our Treaty settlement for central Auckland. This follows the Supreme Court ruling in 2018 that raised serious concerns with the Hauraki-Marutūāhu offers.

"The Waitangi Tribunal’s Hauraki report confirms our stance."

Mr Blair says the Marutūāhu Collective settlement includes the transfer of properties from within the heartland of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, without consultation or recognition of its mana whenua rights.

"The Crown failed to assess and test the claims of Hauraki in the Tauranga and Aotea areas, just as it failed to do so in Tāmaki Makaurau," says Mr Blair.

"Our goal has always been to make sure that tikanga is protected, and as Ahi Kā and kaitiaki of this whenua from before and since 1840, our rights should be recognised by the Crown, Council and Marutūāhu."

The Tribunal’s report recommends that the collective and individual Hauraki settlements do not go ahead until a tikanga-based overlapping claims process is undertaken.

"We have developed our own tikanga-based solution for overlapping interests with Ngāti Paoa, and it is working. But the parties need to act honestly and with integrity, which has not happened with Marutūāhu."

Mr Blair says the report’s findings and recommendations should have a significant flow on effect on the local government environment and its flawed iwi engagement processes.

"We urge the Minister and the Mayor of Auckland to take heed of the report and come back to the table and kōrero with us," he says.

"They need to reset the redress offers by first engaging in a tikanga process and a proper assessment of strengths of interests.

"Cultural redress sites have been offered to Marutūāhu next door to our Marae and Te Tōangaroa CBD property in Parnell. The Tribunal has emphasised that the Crown must be meticulous in its approach to awarding cultural redress in contested areas, much more so than when awarding commercial redress."

Mr Blair says that Auckland Council is also party to a proposed transfer of Gladstone Road sites to Marutūāhu.

"We have put the Council on notice. We will not tolerate any undermining of our mana and breach of our legal rights."

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