26 Jun 2013

Govt to advertise Ngapuhi mandate

7:09 pm on 26 June 2013

The Government is to advertise a controversial deed of mandate next month, to settle the Treaty of Waitangi claims for the country's largest tribe, Ngapuhi.

The mandate to negotiate with the Crown was claimed two years ago, by the Northland tribe's runanga board, Tuhoronuku.

But it ran into stiff opposition from the hapu coalition, Te Kotahitanga, over representation and independence issues.

The Government says Tuhoronuku has made significant compromises, and the changes strike a fair balance between the concerns of both sides.

It says it will advertise the proposed deed of mandate early in July, and call for public submissions.

If the Government recognises the mandate, there could be independent elections for the Ngapuhi negotiating body later this year, and discussions about settlement starting early in 2014.

Ngapuhi is the last major iwi to settle its historical grievances - involving nearly 300 separate claims by northern hapu, from Hokianga to the Hauraki Gulf.

The Waitangi Tribunal has begun hearing the claims in its largest inquiry to date, but the Government is hopeful that settlement negotiations could be held in parallel with the hearings.