Hapu seeks housing in Bay of Islands as claim redress

8:47 pm on 17 May 2013

A Northland hapu is asking for a housing scheme in the Bay of Islands as one of the remedies for multiple breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi by the Crown.

The Waitangi Tribunal is hearing more than 300 northern land claims under the Ngapuhi umbrella.

The tribunal is into the final day of a week of hearings related to the grievances of hapu from Ipipiri (the Bay of Islands).

Speakers for Te Kapotai told the tribunal at Waitangi on Friday they have been savagely punished for standing up for the rangatiratanga (sovereignty) guaranteed to them in the Treaty.

They say their homes in the Waikare Inlet were burned down and the lands and forest lost after the Battle of Kororareka in 1846 and the chopping down of the British flagstaff.

Te Kapotai says as part of the Crown's redress, they want a housing scheme that will let them build homes for their people in what are now the prime real estate areas of Opua and Okiato.

They also want the town of Russell to be renamed Kororareka - the name given to it by their ancestors.

Absent Ngapuhi leaders 'a disgrace'

A lawyer representing hapu at the Ngapuhi land claim hearings says it is a disgrace that none of the tribe's runanga leaders have shown their faces.

Annette Sykes is acting for Ngati Manu, one of several hapu who have been recounting their histories and grievance at the hearings this week.

Ms Skyes says runanga leader Sonny Tau - who has been urging direct negotiations with the Crown - has not once made an appearance during what has been a very important week for the people he wants to lead to settlement.

"No one can purport to be representing people to settle their Treaty claims without participation with the grassroots who are bringing the claims. And the absolute non-attendance, no-show by leaders like Sonny Tau is a disgrace."