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October 2019

Submitted by admin2 on Thu, 20/02/2020 - 11:21am

Te Rūnanga-ā-Iwi o Ngāti Kahu
Land Claims Report for October 2019

1. Waitangi Tribunal – judicial conference 23 October
2. National Iwi Chairs Forum – 31 October, 1 November

• The Waitangi Tribunal held a judicial conference on 23 October at Taipā in preparation for a hearing for binding recommendations.
• We attended the hui of National Iwi Chairs Forum held on 31 October and 1 November at Waikawa (Picton). The overriding theme was the government’s lack of engagement with iwi.

1. Waitangi Tribunal – judicial conference
The Waitangi Tribunal held a judicial conference on 23 October at Taipā in preparation for a hearing for binding recommendations. Ngāti Kahu (the claimant and applicant) proposed that the Tribunal take the following approach to our application for binding recommendations:
(a) Tribunal issue a decision that it will make binding recommendations on ALL the properties available for resumption in our rohe.
(b) The Tribunal then set a process to hearing which is designed to identify who should receive what in terms of the resumable whenua and compensation.
(c) Tribunal then make binding recommendations for the whenua to be resumed and vested in the appropriate entities/grouping(s).

All the claimant interested parties supported an approach along those lines (with some variations). Those who propose to be interested parties or joint applicants will have to justify to the Tribunal how they are entitled to be an applicant and/or entitled to receive any of the assets. The Crown opposed the approach and proposed instead that:
(a) Tribunal hear evidence from all the interested parties. Most also want to become applicants/claimants (including groups from outside Ngāti Kahu).
(b) Tribunal then hear evidence from all the applicants/claimants on the merits of our conflicting claims, including the contemporary ones - in short, we all have a big fight to determine who should get what.
(c) Tribunal then decide what lands are available for resumption.
(d) Tribunal then decide what, if any, binding recommendations it will make on any of the lands and who it will vest them in.

We are now waiting on the Tribunal to release its decision on which approach it will take to our claim for binding recommendations, or if it will take a completely different approach altogether.

2. National Iwi Chairs Forum – 31 October – 1 November
A large contingent from Ngāti Kahu attended the Te Ātiawa o te Waka a Māui hosted Forum hui at Waikawa near Picton. It included Reremoana Rēnata, Ani Mānuera, Ruth Murray, Mal Hekeua-Hack, Kataraina Rhind, Bardia Matiu, Dee Ann Wolferstan, Bobby Morunga, Ānahera Herbert-Graves, Alton Hohaia, Anthony Housham and me. A number of important matters were raised.
(a) Freshwater: As reported last month, the Forum has given up trying to engage with the Crown about the ownership of water. The Freshwater group has received legal advice that it has a strong case to take to the courts. The Forum supported this actions being taken. Tainui is leading this work.
(b) Climate Crisis: In addition to taking legal action against the Crown in this country, Mike Smith is also taking legal action against the Austrian company OMV in the International Criminal Court (which sits in The Hague, Netherlands). OMV is the large international oil-drilling company that is drilling off the Taranaki coast. Mike is currently in Austria and as such his report was deferred to the February meeting of the Forum for consideration.
(c) Data: Our Data group has managed to negotiate an agreement on how Statistics NZ is to engage with them. It is called Mana Ōrite (Equal Authorities) and requires each party to have equal standing and respect for each other in the work they do. Karen Vercoe (Te Arawa) explained the multiplicity of approaches and strategies they had to deploy to achieve the agreement.
(d) Pou Tangata: I appointed our social services convenor, Dee Ann Wolferstan, as a technician to assist with the drafting of the strategy for this group to ensure that the focus is on the rights of our people rather than the wishes of government agencies.
(e) Pou Tāhua: The Forum agreed that Ngāhiwi Tōmoana (Ngāti Kahungunu) will be our representative on the Pacific Leaders’ Group.
(f) Pou Tikanga: Despite the Tiriti Framework being agreed by the government and the Statement of Engagement between National Iwi Chairs Forum and the Crown being approved at the last Forum hui, the government is ignoring it. I had informal discussions with Kelvin Davis as Minister of Māori-Crown relations that indicated that he will not be able to provide the leadership needed to remedy this situation. Nanaia Mahuta as Minister of Māori Development is working well with the Technical Working Group on implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, despite the Ministry of Māori Development trying to undermine the Group.
(g) The Forum has lost patience with the government. Gerard Albert (Te Atihaunui a Pāpārangi) delivered the following to Nanaia when she came on the Friday.

• Under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Crown is obligated to engage iwi early, meaningfully and effectively on any matter affecting iwi, hapū and whānau.
• The NICF provides a forum for the Crown to work alongside member iwi on improving delivery of this obligation, while maintaining the mana and independence of all iwi of the motu.
• The NICF notes that the Prime Minister and the Crown have made commitments over 2019 to a relationship with the NICF that the Crown has not fulfilled.
• Meanwhile the Crown has embarked on several important policy decisions over 2019 without direct input from the Iwi of the motu and without regard for our individual settlement legislation and in the absence of any discernible plan for engagement with Iwi.
• This situation leaves the NICF member iwi considering taking direct courses of action to address the serious derogation of Crown obligations to iwi under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
• This statement serves as notice to the Crown of this situation.

Nanaia undertook to advise the Prime Minister with a view to her meeting urgently with the Forum to rectify the impasses. The Forum asked that its February hui spend the bulk of its time determining strategic priorities rather than meeting with government. Ngāpuhi as hosts will determine how best that can be achieved.

The forum unanimously supported the government being asked to issue a statement repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery and Nanaia seemed OK with that. However, she did mention he Doctrine of Cession and that it is problematic. That comes from the government claiming that Māori ceded sovereignty when of course we didn’t. The Waitangi Tribunal issued a report in 2014 confirming that we did not cede sovereignty. The Forum will be writing to Jacinda Ardern asking her to issue a statement repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery.

Professor Margaret Mutu
04 November 2019