18 Mar 2014

Ngapuhi update Maori in Australia

8:08 pm on 18 March 2014

Ngapuhi leaders are holding meetings in Australia this week to update Maori living there on progress on the iwi's treaty settlement.

Mandated iwi authority Tuhoronuku has been contentious on its home turf in Northland - but it says Ngapuhi living across the Tasman have always been keen to see the massive claim settled.

Tuhoronuku interim leader Sonny Tau is chairing an information hui in Sydney on Tuesday night, following a similar meeting in Perth.

It's the third such round of meetings across the Tasman and in New Zealand to make sure as many of Ngapuhi's 140,000 members as possible are kept up to date with the mandate process.

Spokesperson Kipa Munro says about 20 people attended the Perth hui, and they will update whanau through their west Australian networks about elections next month for new Tuhoronuku representatives, who will direct negotiations with the Crown.

Mr Munro says thousands of Ngapuhi live in Australia and, while they don't want to be involved directly with the negotiation process, they've made it clear they want to be kept informed.

Some sub-tribes in the Far North, including Ngati Hine, are refusing to join Tuhoronuku. However, the tide of opposition turned this week when large Bay of Islands hapu Ngati Rehia said it could work with the revised mandate rules and would participate.

Opposition 'worthwhile'

Piripi Moore says the earlier opposition to Tuhoronuku was worthwhile, with the three years' opposing it leading to some real changes which mean hapu have the majority say on the mandated body over what happens to the claims and the settlement process.

Mr Moore says younger Ngapuhi are starting to take a real interest in the treaty settlement process.

Tuhoronuku says the settlement is for all Ngapuhi and most - who do not live in Northland - want to see the claim settled and Aotearoa's biggest and poorest iwi back on the road to prosperity.

Meanwhile, Te Rarawa leader Haami Piripi has made a strong plea today for hapu to end their opposition to Tuhoronuku set aside personality differences, and join in the settlement process.

Mr Piripi, who has Ngapuhi ancestry through his Hokianga roots, says if Ngati Hine believes Tuhoronuku is broken it should join and help to fix it.

Ngati Hine, as ariki, have always produced strong leaders and they are needed by the whole of Ngapuhi, he says.

Nominations for 110 hapu delegates for the negotiating board, in what is the first part in the process, close on Friday.