14 Nov 2014

Ruling offers Maori 'new opportunities'

6:14 pm on 14 November 2014

The chair of Te Runanga o Te Rarawa says a Waitangi Tribunal ruling that Maori did not sign away sovereignty in the Treaty opens new doors for Maori development.

Haami Piripi.

Haami Piripi Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

The tribunal has upheld claims of Ngapuhi and other northern iwi that chiefs did not hand over their power and authority to the British in signing Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840.

The decision comes four years after the tribunal heard the issue, and says the chiefs thought that they were signing to become equals with Pakeha, not ceding sovereignty.

Ngati Hine kaumatua Erima Henare.

Erima Henare Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

Haami Piripi, of Te Rarawa, said the ruling lets Maori express themselves as an independent nation and that meant they could access new networks and expand into areas including trade and the banking sector.

Ngati Hine leader Erima Henare addressed the Crown's lawyers today and commended them for their honour and skill. He told them his people's barbs were only directed at their client.

Mr Henare said he looked forward to engaging with the lawyers again.

Crowds at Waitangi marae await the arrival of the Waitangi Tribunal.

Crowds at Waitangi marae await the arrival of the Waitangi Tribunal. Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

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