13 Jul 2015

Call to vote on Ngāti Uenuku treaty claims

9:36 am on 13 July 2015

A Whanganui tribal entity is encouraging iwi members to vote for them this week to give them the mandate to settle with the Crown.

Whanganui River

Ngāti Uenuku's Treaty of Waitangi claims cover the middle reaches of the Whanganui River, including Raetihi. Photo: 123RF

The Uenuku Charitable Trust is seeking a mandate to settle Treaty of Waitangi claims on behalf of Ngāti Uenuku descendents. It has been running a roadshow campaign for the last two weeks up and down the motu to engage with tribal members and answer questions.

Its secretary, Moana Dawson, said the kanohi-ki-te-kanohi (face-to-face) campaign has attracted a lot of interest from people wanting to find out more about their connections to Ngāti Uenuku.

She said the trust has held seven hui from as far south as Gore right up to Auckland.

"The feedback from people and the turnouts to the hui have been good," Ms Dawson said.

She said the roadshow hui have been an opportunity for iwi members to find out more about their connections to their tribal rohe and what the trust is trying to achieve.

"People are wanting to know if we have the capacity and the capability to carry this kaupapa forward on behalf of the iwi, so they've been asking questions about our processes, our structure and who we are.

"Uri are very interested in their own whakapapa (genealogy) to Uenuku."

Ms Dawson said, so far, tribal descendants seem confident in what they are trying to achieve and they haven't been shy about asking the hard questions.

"What they're really interested in is finding out if we are the people who can progress the tribe's treaty claims. The process has been worthwhile for us as an entity."

She said the final roadshow hui, scheduled be held in Pipiriki on Saturday 11 July, had to be cancelled as the road had been washed out by the floods.

Ms Dawson said the tribal entity did not have the resources to campaign in Australia, where many of its iwi members live, so it was relying on social media and word of mouth to encourage sign-ups to the Uenuku tribal database so ballots can be cast.

Ngāti Uenuku iwi members are able to vote online or by post by Friday 17 July.

Uenuku's Treaty of Waitangi claims cover the middle reaches of the Whanganui River, including Raetihi and the Whanganui National Park.

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