24 Feb 2014

Iwi seeking negotiations mandate

8:02 pm on 24 February 2014

A Gisborne iwi is again seeking a mandate from its people so it can negotiate a multi-million Treaty of Waitangi package with the Crown - more than two decades after lodging tribal grievances.

The claims by Te Aitanga a Mahaki are the last to be settled by the Crown in Gisborne.

The mandate is being sought by the Te Aitanga a Mahaki Trust after being approached by John Ruru, who originally filed the claim in 1992.

He went to the tribal body after a 2003 mandate, which focussed on claims by some of the claimant groups, which failed to gain support.

The tribe's lead negotiator, Willie Te Aho, says he suspects the new mandate has a better chance of being supported by many of its 6000 beneficiaries because all of the marae are represented by the trust, and it has recently completed the fisheries settlement on behalf of the tribe.

Mr Te Aho says it's the ideal organisation to lead the historic land claims and he envisages a mandate from the people will be gained by early April, with negotiations to start in May.