Māori King's renewed claim for Auckland

7:39 pm on 21 August 2015

The Māori King has launched a new bid for Waikato-Tainui to gain a substantial part of the Auckland region.

The treaty claim extends to the Mahurangi Peninsula in the north down to the Firth of Thames, across the Manukau Harbour and up to Piha on the west coast.

Kiingi Tuheitia at Turangawaewae Marae on 21 August 2015

King Tuheitia during his speech today at Turangawaewae Marae, which is marking the ninth year of his reign. Photo: RNZ / Andrew McRae

King Tuheitia was speaking at the Koroneihana at Turangawaewae, the annual celebration of his reign.

He said negotiations would start soon with the Government on the unresolved treaty claim for Waikato-Tainui and the Kīngitanga in Auckland.

King Tuheitia, who is suffering poor health, spoke to his people for over 20 minutes.

It was not until right at the end of his speech that he made reference to entering a new era of rights and claims.

"One that is destined to bring about problems, argument and even disagreement. But I am obliged and responsible to go there."

King Tuheitia said his tūpuna (ancestors) did their part and now he must do his.

"It must be done and I am determined to do it with the start of the Kīngitanga claim in Tāmaki and to further address and resolve the question of sovereignty of the Kīngitanga with the Government and the Crown."

The King said Waikato had continued to stand with him by supporting and validating the claim in the name of his tupuna, the first Māori King Te Wherowhero.

Unresolved claim

The chief negotiator for the Tāmaki claim, Tukoroirangi Morgan, said the bid was part of an unresolved Waikato-Tainui claim. It was first filed in the late 1980s and then again in 1993 but was left hanging until talks reopened five weeks ago.

He said the iwi had a close affinity with the Auckland region and the claim was important to the mana of Waikato-Tainui and the Kīngitanga.

"That then gives us the ability to true to protect, fortify and defend the interests of Te Wherowhero, who was of course the protector of Auckland in an agreement signed with Governor Grey."

The claim extends from the Mahurangi Peninsula to the Firth of Thames, across the Manukau Harbour and up to Piha (marked with yellow stars).

The claim extends from the Mahurangi Peninsula to the Firth of Thames, across the Manukau Harbour and up to Piha (marked with yellow stars). Photo: Google Earth

Mr Morgan said there were a number of sites in Auckland that Te Wherowhero had mana over.

"And so this is an opportunity for the tribe to go back to talk to the government in an attempt to try and address the unresolved interests of Waikato-Tainui and the Kīngitanga interests into Tāmaki."

Mr Morgan said the Government had agreed to hear the claim and the plan was to have it resolved within a year.

He expected the claim to face challenges from iwi in Auckland.

"That's a reality we are going to have to deal with. Our relationship with Ngāti Whātua goes deep into our genealogical ties but clearly this is about our mana into Tāmaki, into Auckland."

'I have tried to stay well and hopeful'

King Tuheitia spoke of entering his 10th year of his reign and how time had passed very quickly and how he has aged and diminished just as quickly.

"I have tried to stay well and hopeful. I am strong, I am glad that I don't complain publicly, and I am determined, so if this is what people call being positive, then I am positive."

Mr Morgan said King Tuheitia's presence today had lifted the hearts and minds of his people, who were clearly concerned about his health.