5 Dec 2017

Iwi to take Crown to Supreme Court

7:23 pm on 5 December 2017

An Auckland iwi says it will go to the Supreme Court to block a Crown bid to hand over pieces of what it considers its land to other iwi in treaty settlements.

Supreme Court in Wellington, Coat of Arms

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei Trust is prepared to go to the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal rejected its bid to stop the Crown from giving land they say is in their heartland to other iwi as part of their treaty settlements.

The Court of Appeal rejected Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei Trust's bid to stop properties in Grafton Road, Dominion Road, Auckland Grammar School and Epsom Girls' Grammar being part of the Marutūāhu and Ngāti Paoa treaty settlements.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei spokesman Ngarimu Blair said the hapū is disappointed with the Court's ruling but was always prepared to go as far was needed to test its case.

"This is just one of the many battles.

"What was encouraging with the judgement was they agreed Ngāti Whātuā did not sign away its manawhenua and share it with 19 other tribes when we signed the Tamaki Collective," Mr Blair said.

He said the current approach to overlapping claims was a fundamental breach of tikanga and of their Treaty rights.

"It's in our heartland and at the very least we should agree to it and with the exception of Ngāti Paoa, the other Hauraki tribes, Marutūāhu, have very tenuous links into central Auckland."

The decision has been welcomed by the Marutūāhu Collective - a collective of five iwi.

Collective chair Paul Majurey said the court ruling confirmed yet again the rights of all the Auckland tribes who came together in 2009, including Ngāti Whātua Orakei, to form the Tāmaki Collective in recognition of their many shared interests and rights.

The Court of Appeal found that Ngāti Whātua Orakei signed both its settlement deed and a Tāmaki Collective deed "knowing that neither gave it an exclusive right in respect of any of the land available for commercial redress", Mr Majurey said.

He said Auckland has many manawhenua and no one tribe has superior and exclusive rights over the others.

"It is sad to see these attempted delays to Treaty settlements after many years of hard work and ongoing loss of our old people," Mr Majurey said.

Ngāti Whatua was using the financial clout it gained courtesy of its own settlement, which was supported by Marutūāhu, to try and muscle out other iwi through protracted legal challenges," he said.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei spokesman Ngarimu Blair said they rejected the myth that there were 19 or more iwi in central Auckland, all with the same rights.

"We should be clear - this is not about who has mana and who doesn't, it is about our ability to have this matter heard properly. The Court of Appeal says we need to argue our case with Parliament and that's what we will continue to do," Mr Blair said.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust said it would now begin preparing its application to the Supreme Court.

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