A statement by the Ngāpuhi Engagement Group

Draft Report to Ngāpuhi

The Ngāpuhi Engagement Group released its draft report today 1 April 2016, in response to the Waitangi Tribunal’s September 2015 Ngāpuhi Mandate Inquiry Report. The group is comprised of representatives from Te Kotahitanga o Ngā Hapū Ngāpuhi Taiwhenua (Kotahitanga) and the Tūhoronuku Independent Mandated Authority (Tūhoronuku IMA) who entered into a focused engagement process in December 2015 to find a unified pathway forward towards settlement with the Crown. The Crown, through the Office of Treaty Settlements and Te Puni Kōkiri, also participated in the engagement group, providing advice on Crown policy and other assistance as required.

“We came together to look at how the flaws identified by the Tribunal could be remedied and, more broadly, to develop recommendations for a hapū-driven, negotiation process which will be able to achieve the best redress for our people. We have worked together to come up with recommendations on a pathway which enhances our hapū rangatiratanga and supports whanaungatanga”.

“We recommend evolving the existing mandate, by making changes to address the key issues that have been dividing us. This will enable us to proceed together to negotiations in a regionally coordinated way driven, directed and owned by hapū”.

As Ngāpuhi, our strength has stemmed from a confederated approach to iwi and hapū business, where the mana of each constituent hapū is honoured and empowered, which is embodied in our most famous whakatauki ‘Ngāpuhi Kowhao Rau’. It is envisaged that Ngāpuhi will come together under this principle around the negotiations and settlement of our claims. We now have opportunities to build a base of hapū actively participating, supporting and strengthening the drive for our settlement.

How we share the decision making powers and benefits that settlements bring is absolutely key to gaining the trust and support of our Ngāpuhi people and in particular our hapū. The proposal contained in the draft report is considered by the Engagement team to be the best way in which we as hapū and people of Ngāpuhi can organise ourselves to coordinate a unified approach to the settlement negotiations, which will greatly enhance our ability to achieve the best settlement for our people.

We have real strength in unity of purpose and will be able to be far more effective in pushing the envelope and boundaries of the standard Crown negotiations policy if we can stand together, work together and debate together. The potential for Ngāpuhi is huge now, but we have to take the right team approach which is inclusive and supportive of our hapū and claimants.

The engagement team with Ngāpuhi input has developed this recommended pathway forward.

We urge everyone to review the full report thoroughly.

We are inviting all Ngāpuhi to give us your further feedback and comments by 29 April 2016. We will consider your feedback, adjust the recommendations as necessary, and release a final report on 6 May 2016.

Feedback can be sent to ngāpuhifeedback@justice.govt.nz.