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September 2012

Submitted by admin2 on Tue, 20/11/2012 - 3:15pm

Te Rūnanga-ā-Iwi o Ngāti Kahu
Land Claims Report for September 2012

1. Hearing for our application for binding recommendations 2-7 September, Karepōnia marae

2. Hearing for Closing Submissions, 18-19 September, Auckland and Te Rarawa and Ngāti Tara apply for binding recommendations over Ngāti Kahu lands

3. Decision on applications for urgent hearings against Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa and Ngāi Takoto Deeds of Settlement still awaited

4. Ngāti Kahu travels to Wairarapa to commemorate Te Kotahitanga and Te Paremata Māori, 29 September.

• The Waitangi Tribunal was pōwhiri’d onto Kareponia marae on Sunday 2 September. The hearing started the next day and ran for five days.

• Closing submissions from us, the Crown and the interested parties took place in the Environment Court in Auckland. We are now awaiting the Tribunal’s decision.

• During closing submissions the Crown urged the interested parties to apply for binding recommendations over Ngāti Kahu’s lands to prevent the Crown being ordered to relinquish those lands to Ngāti Kahu. As a result Te Rarawa applied for binding recommendations over all Ngāti Kahu’s lands except for Kohumaru. Ngāti Tara has applied for all of Rangiputa Station.

• We have yet to receive the decision of the Tribunal on our applications for urgent hearings against the deeds of settlement of Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa and Ngāi Takoto and the Crown and Te Aupōuri’s application to have Te Kani Williams removed as counsel.

• On 29 September a group of eight Ngati Kahu representatives attended the 150th anniversary commemorations for the Kotahitanga and Paremata Māori held at Pāpāwai Marae, Greytown, Wairarapa.

1. Hearing for our application for binding recommendations 2-7 September, Karepōnia marae

The hearing for our application for binding recommendations over all State Owned Enterprise and Crown Forest lands in our rohe took place at Karepōnia marae as scheduled. It started with the pōwhiri on Sunday. Both the wharenui and the marquee were full many times during the week. We ensured that our Ngāti Kahu kuia, kaumātua, delegates and claimant marae had priority in the wharenui. After some technical problems on Monday, the hearing was broadcast on Te Reo Irirangi o Te Hiku o Te Ika from Tuesday onwards.

On the Monday we started with opening submissions from Ngāti Kahu’s counsel and these were followed by the presentation of evidence in chief by Ngāti Kahu. The full briefs of evidence are all available on our Ngāti Kahu website and have been emailed out to all those on our email list. You can also listen to the recordings the Tribunal made of the evidence that was presented and the cross examinations by lawyers for other parties and the Tribunal.

On the Monday Lloyd Pōpata, Te Karaka Karaka, Yvonne Puriri, Tania Thomas, Reremoana Renata and I presented our evidence – although mine went over to Tuesday morning. On the Tuesday our technical experts gave evidence: Dr Ganesh Nana on economic evidence, Telfer Young on land valuation, Bill Liley on forest valuation, Paul Quinn on the Crown Forest Assets Act and Peter McBurney on historical evidence. Dr Lance O’Sullivan’s evidence on the health of our people was not challenged by any party and so he did not appear during the hearing.

Lloyd Popata presented evidence of the hakapapa and oral histories of a number of Ngāti Kahu tūpuna, particularly those from Te Paatu, and our historical relationships with Te Rarawa, the origins of Ngāi Takoto and the very recent arrival of Te Aupōuri who were settled in Ngāti Kurī’s territory in Te Kao.

Te Karaka Karaka (Hully Clark) gave evidence concerning Te Paatu, their lands at Hukatere that they were evicted from by the Crown in the 1940s, and the gumfields at Rangiāniwaniwa where whānau of Patukōraha, Ngāi Tohianga and Te Paatu hapū were living when they were evicted by the Crown in the 1940s.

Yvonne Puriri gave evidence of the Matenga/Erstich whānau who owned and lived on Rangiāniwaniwa, had invited Te Paatu and Ngāi Tohianga to dig gum there and were evicted by the Crown in the 1940s with no compensation ever paid for those lands.

Tania Thomas gave evidence about the Rūnanga, how it was established and how it operates.

Reremoana Renata gave evidence about Kohumaru, Ōtangaroa and the lands of Matarahurahu hapū. She also asked that our language be preserved and our children have proper schooling through Kohanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa Māori, Whare Kura and Whare Wānanga that come under our authority, not that of the Ministry of Education.

My evidence was very long and covered our claims from 1982 to the present day.

The technical evidence focused on the damage done to Ngāti Kahu between 1840 and 1865 with the valuation evidence for the forest detailing the compensation the Crown must provide for the forest they sold and the land valuation provided for the lands that the Tribunal can order the Crown to relinquish to Ngāti Kahu.

We were followed by the Crown’s witnesses. These included Pat Snedden, Office of Treaty Settlement staff, a land valuer (who largely agreed with ours except on Rangiputa), an economist (who tried to say our economist was wrong but didn’t say what was right) and a forest valuer (who had to admit he got some key figures wrong). Our lawyers cross examined each of these witnesses, some at great length.

The Crown was followed on Wednesday by Chappie Harrison claiming to represent 270 members of Ngāti Tara. The Tribunal appeared to conclude that Ngāti Tara’s problems with the Rūnanga were about personality issues rather than any matters of substance and they noted that it would be a travesty if the Tribunal was unable to return Rangiputa because of personality clashes. Chappie Harrison, who claimed in hearings that Ngāti Tara were not claiming Rangiputa for themselves alone, went on to apply for binding recommendations for Ngāti Tara alone over Rangiputa. The judge pointed out that Chappie Harrison and Ngāti Tara do not have a claim that has been heard and upheld by the Tribunal. This is a requirement before the Tribunal can make orders for binding recommendations.

Next up was Niki Tauhara claiming to represent 200 members of Te Paatu ki Pēria. They wanted to make sure they were not left out of any remedies that were provided to Ngāti Kahu.

Tina Latimer appeared for Graham Latimer saying she had just seven supporters for Graham’s bid to have everything provided to Ngāti Kahu vested in a body that he would establish.

They were followed on Thursday by Te Rarawa, who had by then applied for binding recommendations over Kaitāia (which it subsequently extended over all Ngāti Kahu territory except for Kohumaru).

Te Aupōuri then appeared arguing that Ngāi Kahu had to do what the Crown tells us to do and that the Tribunal must not allow Ngāti Kahu to get more than what Te Aupōuri has. They were also claiming to have mana whenua in Kaitāia so that they can hold on to Te Aupōuri House in Melba St. Te Aupōuri does not have mana whenua in Kaitāia.

Ngāi Takoto, who did not question any of Ngāti Kahu’s witnesses but attacked our right to have binding recommendations, ended up supporting Ngāti Kahu by attacking what Te Rarawa’s tupuna Panakareao had done in transacting lands he had no authority over. However they continue to claim 50 per cent of Rangiāniwaniwa but gave no evidence to support that claim.

Whangaroa and Ngāpuhi claimants wanted to be included in any Kohumaru and Ōtangaroa lands that are vested in Ngāti Kahu.

Kareponia marae did a magnificent job of keeping everyone well fed and looked after over the entire week. Our Rūnanga staff, Anahera, Miriam and Shontee did a superb job of making sure everything else ran smoothly, including having to transcribe the cross examinations when the Tribunal was unable to provide them in time. Our legal team similarly did a superb job, cross examining almost all the witnesses and uncovering the flaws in a lot of their evidence.

2. Hearing for Closing Submissions, 18-19 September, Auckland

Closing submissions from us, the Crown and the interested parties took place in the Environment Court in Auckland. More than 30 kuia, kaumātua, marae representatives and whānau attended the two day sitting, staying at Tātai Hono marae. Once again we made sure our people had seating in the Court rather than having to sit outside.

Each of the lawyers for the various parties summarized the evidence given and provided legal arguments for their various positions. Throughout the hearings the Crown and its close allies Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa and Ngāi Takoto all fought desperately to stop Ngāti Kahu getting any binding recommendations and emphasized this in the closings. They are all arguing that Ngāti Kahu must abide by what the Crown has tried to dictate – that is, that Ngāti Kahu must accept a Crown determined settlement that extinguishes all Ngāti Kahu’s claims, including all those that have yet to be heard because that is what Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa and Ngāi Takoto have done. The Crown argued for the Tribunal to make non-binding recommendations – so that it can ignore them. We had the final right of reply and this was provided partly orally on the second day, but mainly in a 116 page final reply which addressed all the other closing submissions and concerns raised by the Tribunal. The written final reply is on our website and we will load the recordings of this hearing as soon as they become available.

Because the Crown is so desperate to stop us we believed their attack on Ngāti Kahu will be both underhanded and vicious – and it was. Prior to the closing hearing we spoke to Ngāti Tara, Ngāi Takoto and Te Rarawa to see if we could sort out our differences. Each agreed to do so after talking to their own. However the Crown managed to get Te Rarawa to apply for binding recommendations over Ngāti Kahu lands in Kaitāia during the week of hearings at Karepōnia. And then, just before the closings hearing, after we had agreed to meet and resolve our differences, I received an email from Haami Piripi saying Te Rarawa was no longer prepared to meet with Ngāti Kahu. During the closing hearings we learnt that Te Rarawa had extended its application for binding recommendations to all of the lands Ngāti Kahu has applied for binding recommendations over with the exception of Kohumaru. This was followed by Ngāti Tara making a similar application for all of the Rangiputa station. The Crown also asked Te Paatu ki Peria, Ngāi Takoto and Te Aupōuri to do the same. This means we will be tied up with dealing with those applications for at least several months. It is now unclear when a decision on our application can be expected.

We are also aware that the Waitangi Tribunal has been under threat from the Crown since at least 1997 that if it makes binding recommendations the Crown will change the law to remove its powers. Despite this we have always known that no matter what the Crown does to try to keep all of the lands it stole from Ngāti Kahu, our lands will not be going anywhere.

My sincere thanks to all those who have worked so hard and so long to bring us to this point – including the many who have passed away before we got here. It was extremely gratifying to see the level of support provided in both hearings from the whānau, hapū and marae who will, hopefully, get to see some benefit from all this work. Ngā mihi aroha ki a tātou katoa.

4. Ngāti Kahu travels to Wairarapa to commemorate Te Kotahitanga and Te Paremata Māori, 29 September.

Earlier this year Ngāti Kahungunu invited iwi throughout the country to attend its 150th anniversary commemorations for the Paremata Māori (the Māori Parliament). Selwyn Clark, Timoti Flavell, Vera Flavell, Alan Hetaraka, Ani Manuera, Joe Erstich, Podge Housham and I travelled to the hui at Pāpāwai marae, Greytown in the Wairarapa. A number of iwi attended. I gave a presentation on the progress that has been made by the Constitutional Transformation Working Party, Matike Mai Aotearoa, on drawing up a model for a written constitution based on our tikanga, He Whakaputanga o Te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni 1835 and Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840.

Professor Margaret Mutu
30 September 2012