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October - November 2011

Submitted by admin2 on Mon, 26/03/2012 - 2:10pm

Te Rūnanga-ā-Iwi o Ngāti Kahu
Land Claims Report for November 2011

1. Ngāti Kahu in the Waitangi Tribunal for binding recommendations
2. Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri and Ngāi Takoto each initial deeds of settlement

• We attended a judicial conference convened by the Waitangi Tribunal to consider our application for binding recommendations. At the dogged insistence of the Crown, with the full support of Te Aupōuri and to a lesser degree Te Rarawa, the Tribunal has delayed proceeding with our application. They have instead indicated that they will issue directions asking us to provide further information and proof that the claims that the Tribunal held to be well founded included the claims of Ngāti Kahu within their rohe in 1997 and that these claims are actually Ngāti Kahu claims (yes, crazy nonsense) and separate from the other iwi.
• At least part of the reason for delaying hearing our application is so that Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri and Ngāi Takoto can ratify the Deeds of Settlement they have initialed this month. Large tracts of Ngāti Kahu lands are included in those settlements and once the settlements are legislated we will not be able to recover them through the Tribunal.
• In respect of Te Ana o Taite, we have not heard yet whether the High Court has allowed Carrington Farms and the Far North District Council to appeal its decision (although we expect it will).

1. Ngāti Kahu in the Waitangi Tribunal for binding recommendations
On 25 November a group of claimants, Rūnanga representatives and lawyers travelled to Wellington to attend a judicial conference convened by the Waitangi Tribunal in respect of our application for binding recommendations over all Crown forest lands and State Owned Enterprise lands in our rohe. We were aware that the Crown is vehemently opposed to our application being heard and so we knew they would use every possible mechanism available to them, legal or otherwise, to prevent any hearing taking place. We also knew that the Crown was being supported by Te Aupōuri and Te Rarawa. It became very clear in the judicial conference that the Crown, Te Aupōuri in particular and Te Rarawa are working closely together against Ngāti Kahu to stop us being heard. Ngāi Takoto and Ngāti Kurī simply sent lawyers to observe.

The Crown argued that the Waitangi Tribunal has no jurisdiction to hear our application – claiming that there was no proof that any of the claims upheld by the Waitangi Tribunal in 1997 were actually Ngāti Kahu claims. Te Aupōuri supported that argument with their lawyer making a number of very insulting, disparaging and ignorant remarks about Ngāti Kahu. Te Rarawa wanted the hearing not to go ahead until their Deed of Settlement was ratified and their settlement finalized by legislation. While the argument that there is no proof that any of the claims upheld by the tribunal are specifically Ngāti Kahu’s is nonsense, the Tribunal was persuaded that it needed more proof that it does have jurisdiction to hear the application. The judge indicated he would be issuing directions requesting further information, including very expensive mapping work, legal descriptions, valuations etc. This will involve a great deal of extra work and expense, and funding this work will be difficult.

Our team is very disappointed that the Tribunal is allowing the Crown, Te Aupōuri and Te Rarawa to delay and possibly prevent the hearing taking place. While we are doing as much work as we can on getting the extra information requested, we are also considering other options.

2. Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri and Ngāi Takoto each initial deeds of settlement
During the past month Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri and Ngāi Takoto negotiators have agreed to their Deeds of Settlement. They are now being ratified, meaning the people get to say whether they agree or disagree with them. Given how long and complex the deeds are, very few people will get to study them properly before voting closes in January or February. The Crown has stipulated that the deeds may not be changed.

The Deeds of Settlement can be accessed on the Office of Treaty Settlements website at under Deeds of Settlement. I have glanced through each of the deeds (it would take me some time to study them fully). They have a lot of material that is repeated in each of the deeds.

Each of the deeds indicates that the Crown has agreed to issue each of the iwi organizations named the title over a small number of pieces of land, including the beds of several lakes (but not the water or the lake itself). Many of these pieces of land have conservation reserve status meaning they are public reserves and the iwi cannot use them for their own purposes.

The Crown has also agreed to sell the Crown forest lands and state-owned farms to the iwi organization named in each of the deeds (and not to the hapū whose lands they are). The Crown has also agreed to make available several million dollars in cash to each of the iwi with which they can purchase a small portion of the lands held by the Crown.

The deeds include the transfer of title to lands that rightfully belong to Ngāti Kahu as well as Te Rarawa and/or Ngāi Takoto. Ngāti Kahu has been excluded from those lands, in particular, lands in Kaitāia, Takahue, Tangonge, Crown forest lands as far north as Hukatere, lands at Hukatere, Kaimaumau and Sweetwater.

In exchange for these lands and money each of the iwi concedes that their underlying native title (found by the Waitangi Tribunal to not have been extinguished) will be legally extinguished along with all their claims (and several others). The deeds emphasise that the sovereignty of the Crown is paramount having replaced the sovereignty of the hapū. The iwi have agreed to take on a reduced role by agreeing
• to become advisors to eleven government departments on matters of social welfare. The Crown has refused to allow the iwi to control their own social welfare;
• to appoint members to a committee of the Northland Regional Council and the Far North District council to advise on the management of Te Oneroa-ā-Tōhē (Ninety Mile beach). The Crown has refused to acknowledge that the beach is owned by the five iwi;
• to nominate five iwi members to a ten person Conservation Board to be set up to advise the Minister of Conservation on the management of lands administered by the Department of Conservation in their rohe. The Minister decides whether those nominated by the iwi will be appointed. He/she also removes those iwi nominees. The Board will draw up a management strategy for those lands as directed by the Department of Conservation. The Department, the Minister of Conservation and the New Zealand Conservation Authority will amend the plan as they see fit. The Department will continue to administer the lands. The Crown has refused to acknowledge that these lands rightfully belong to the whānau and hapū of these iwi.

It is very scary to see Te Rarawa, Ngāi Takoto and Te Aupōuri ceding their mana to the Crown like this and effectively gifting almost all their ancestors’ lands to the Crown.

Professor Margaret Mutu
28 November 2011