Te Runanga-a-Iwi o Ngati Kahu
Land Claims Report for September 2009
- Meeting of Te Hui Tōpū o Te Hiku o te Ika (Te Hiku Forum) - 4 September
- Meeting with ministers of the Crown 11 September
1. Meeting of Te Hui Tōpū o Te Hiku o te Ika (Te Hiku Forum) - 4 September
This meeting was a refreshing change from previous meetings of the Forum with little evidence of the sniping at individual iwi representatives that marred previous meetings. As a result reports were completed expeditiously and decisions reached with minimal fuss.
The three “peninsula iwi” (Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kurī and Ngāi Takoto) reported general support for them working together although they still have to work through aspects of their settlements.
Ngāi Takoto and Te Rarawa have reached general agreement in respect of the Sweetwater block.
Although the Crown keeps trying to force its own timetabling requirements on the Forum to complete negotiations and sign up an Agreement in Principle (AIP), the Forum will move at our own pace and in particular ensure that all iwi are fully informed about the AIP that is jointly drafted. All iwi must approve the AIP before their negotiators can indicate acceptance of it.
The Crown has provided a very initial draft of the AIP which is totally unacceptable. The Forum instructed Te Kani Williams to draft our own AIP (using the headings from the Crown’s draft) rather than trying to amend the Crown’s draft. It will cover Te Aupōuri Forest, Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē (Ninety Mile beach), the seven large state farms (including Rangiputa and Kohumaru in Ngāti Kahu’s rohe) and the future return of Crown lands not returned in this settlement.
The Crown wishes to include an agreement on the delivery of government services to the iwi of Te Hiku o te Ika in the AIP but this has yet to be agreed. The Prime Minister had asked to meet with the Forum on 11 September to discuss this area and the Crown’s proposed Accord between the five iwi and the government in respect of delivering Crown services to the iwi – particularly housing, health, education, employment and related social areas. The meeting spent some time preparing a presentation for that hui to convey the Forum’s view of what would work in this area. Ngāti Kahu argued strongly for control of our lives and all government resources targeting our people to be in our hands rather than with government agencies because of the disastrous track record those agencies have in Te Hiku o te Ika.
We met with Ngāi Takoto after the Forum meeting about the request to transfer the site of Te Rangiāniwaniwa kura from Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) to the Ministry of Education and a long term lease to the Kura be confirmed. We quickly reached agreement that this was not acceptable and drew up a letter to the Crown indicating that the land was to remain with LINZ until it is transferred to Ngāti Kahu and Ngāi Takoto as part of our settlements but that the kura was to remain on the site. We instructed the Crown that the lease to the kura be on an annual basis until such time as the land is transferred back to us.
We are aware that the kura called a hui about this matter a few days later but no Ngāti Kahu representatives were able to attend.
3. Meeting with ministers of the Crown 11 September
This hui was held at Tātai Hono marae in Auckland and was well attended by many of our kuia and kaumātua of Ngāti Kahu along with several rangatahi with a pleasing number from Ngāti Kurī and Te Aupōuri. The Prime Minister, John Key, the Deputy Prime Minister, Bill English, the Minister of Treaty Negotiations, Chris Finlayson, the Minister of Housing, Phil Heatley, the local Pākehā MP, John Carter, and the MP for Te Taitokerau, Hone Harawira, attended for the Crown. The hui was called so the Crown could hear how the five iwi viewed the proposal that the iwi work more closely with the Crown in the delivery of government services to our region.
The presentation to the Crown made by members of the negotiating team within the Forum was carefully prepared but, from my point of view, was rather disappointing in certain aspects of the delivery. In particular iwi representatives other than Ngāti Kahu were not prepared to stand firm in insisting that the Crown acknowledge and respect our mana and tino rangatiratanga, and therefore transfer control to us, preferring instead to defer to Crown domination and maintain a stance of general subservience. Several of our kaumātua noticed it and indicated they were not happy with it. I find this attitude of subservience to the Crown demeaning and unworthy of our iwi and was not at all surprised that the Prime Minister took full advantage of it, responding to our presentation in a patronizing manner saying essentially that we were not good enough to have control of government resources that shape the lives of our people.
The Prime Minister indicated that he thought the government may consider allowing us some limited participation in some specific and targeted programs but really, he was only interested in getting our AIP signed off and the settlements of the five iwi completed as quickly as possible and after that, the iwi working with the Crown to deliver their services better. I consider the latter to be largely a waste of our time and effort given the extensive work Māori have put into working with government bureaucracies in the past only to see them all fail miserably in the delivery of services for our people. As such I will not be recommending that we support the inclusion of such a proposal in the five iwi AIP. We have asked Te Kani to include our view of what an accord between iwi and the crown is to look like in the AIP he drafts.
One highlight of the hui for Ngāti Kahu was that John and Wikatana Popata spent quite some time talking with the Prime Minister. I had asked them to attend the hui with us to see how the Prime Minister responded to our presentation. John and Wikatana had confronted the Prime Minister on Waitangi Day at Waitangi and although our own Taumata Kaumātua o Ngāti Kahu conditionally supported them, the Pākehā courts convicted them. I publicly introduced them to the Prime Minister at Tātai Hono as some of Ngāti Kahu’s future leaders.
After the formal part of the hui, the Chief Crown Negotiator told our counsel, Te Kani Williams, that in respect of the valuation of the seven large farms being returned to the five iwi that we have spent several months trying to bring down to a less exploitative amount, the Crown has revised its valuations down from $50m to $26m. We have already agreed to accept a valuation of $30m so this was a pleasant surprise. Provided this is confirmed, it means that Ngāti Kahu will be able to acquire Kohumaru for $670,000 rather than the $2.3m the Crown was originally demanding (see my last report).
Professor Margaret Mutu
16 September 2009