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May 2020

Submitted by admin2 on Sat, 15/08/2020 - 12:34am

Te Rūnanga-ā-Iwi o Ngāti Kahu
Land Claims Report for May 2020

1. Waitangi Tribunal – preparing claims for hearing
2. National Iwi Chairs Forum – Pandemic Response Group
• The Waitangi Tribunal has received submissions from various legal counsel about the process for inquiring into all outstanding Muriwhenua claims.
• Mike Smith led the National Iwi Chairs Forum Pandemic Response Group’s work during Alert Levels 4 & 3, passing it over to Ngāhiwi Tomoana for Alert Level 2.

1. Waitangi Tribunal – preparing claims for hearing
Te Kani Williams attended our last Rūnanga zui to explain the Tribunal’s requirements around hearing all outstanding Muriwhenua claims. The Tribunal has called for and received submissions from various legal counsel about the information needed and the timeline suggested for inquiring into all outstanding Muriwhenua claims.

It is really important that everyone who wishes to have their claims within the Muriwhenua district heard lets the Tribunal know URGENTLY – otherwise the Tribunal will assume that you no longer wish to be heard and you have abandoned your claim.

2. National Iwi Chairs – Pandemic Response Group
While Ānahera and the amazing Ngāti Kahu Pandemic Response Group carried on with their work protecting Ngāti Kahu from COVID-19, at the national level, Mike Smith from Whangaroa continued to lead the National Iwi Chairs Forum Pandemic Response Group during Alert Levels 4 and 3 in late March, April and early May. He ensured that high quality, reliable advice from experts was made available for Māori as well as meeting daily with ministers and/or government officials. The Forum then moved into the recovery phase and Ngāhiwi Tomoana of Ngāti Kahungunu took over as chair so that we could concentrate on making sure that Māori continued to be in decision-making roles during the recovery phase.

We managed to have our own technicians appointed to work with government officials to draft the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Bill, mainly to stop it being used to steal Māori land and cause environmental damage, and to make sure Te Tiriti o Waitangi is upheld as large ‘shovel-ready’ are carried out to provide employment. It proved extremely frustrating as the government, especially David Parker, Minister for the Environment, once again demonstrated bad faith, ignoring much of the expert advice provided by iwi technicians, arbitrarily shortening agreed deadlines and then lying about a number of issues, including what was included in the Bill. Our technicians will be providing an analysis of the Bill so that the government cannot claim that it has the support of National Iwi Chairs Forum.
We also had meetings with Kelvin Davis, Peeni Henare and Nanaia Mahuta about the COVID-19 Health Bill, and the government’s attempts to dictate what happens on marae. The bill went as far as threatening to send in the police to force us to comply. Once again, Kelvin in particular, did not listen to us about the fact that no government can tell a marae what to do, they can only provide advice. He asserted in our zoom hui that the government is sovereign and that Māori must abide by the laws they make.

Kelvin’s assertion stunned and angered many chairs of National Iwi Chairs Forum. It drew an immediate and very sharp response that Māori exercise mana and tino rangatiratanga and governments’ authority to govern Pākehā only, was devolved under Te Tiriti and is subject to the power and authority of hapū throughout the country. Peeni Henare and Nanaia Mahuta seem to have a much better understanding of this than Kelvin. But if they did argue for it in Cabinet, they were ignored. As a result, the bill drew a huge backlash from Māori throughout the country. National Iwi Chairs Forum was very clear that marae will not be dictated to and will ignore legislation that attempts to do that.

Nanaia Mahuta, as Minister of Māori Development, has disappointingly refused to release the report completed in November 2019 on drawing up a National Plan of Action to implement the United National Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A request for its release has been made under the Official Information Act.

Professor Margaret Mutu
25 May 2020