An Auckland hapū has said it will turn down an invitation to take part in welcoming ceremonies for the signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) because it fears the deal threatens its independence.
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei is strongly opposed to the trade deal, which is due to be signed by New Zealand and 11 other nations at Sky City next Thursday.
"There has been a lot of anger and mistrust voiced about the TPPA by our whānau and we agree with them," said Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust Chairman Piripi Davis.
Mr Davis, told Morning Report the hapū usually supports government policy, but opposes the TPPA.
He said the deal poses a real threat to their tino rangatiratanga, or sovereignty.
"We are trying to do as much as we can to raise the economic and social wellbeing of our whānau. We believe the TPPA will only make this goal more difficult."
Mr Davis also identified commercialisation of indigenous flora and indigenous knowledge related to traditional uses of plants as a potential threat.
He said it was up to other hapu to decide if they would be present for the signing.