21 Oct 2016

Overlapping iwi land claims lead to court

10:58 am on 21 October 2016

Auckland iwi have taken their turf wars to the High Court.

Hauauru Rawiri and Morehu Wilson of Ngati Paoa say they don't want to iwi to be pitted against each other, but they wanted to protect their interests and their own settlement.

Hauauru Rawiri and Morehu Wilson, of Ngati Paoa, say they don't want to iwi to be pitted against each other, but they wanted to protect their interests and their own settlement. Photo: RNZ / Shannon Haunui-Thompson

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are challenging the Crown and its treaty settlement offerings to other iwi of Auckland.

The iwi has already settled its treaty claim and now many other iwi who also have claim to areas in Auckland are negotiating their treaty settlements.

That includes Ngāti Paoa, who are being offered property in Central Auckland as commercial redress, which is now being challenged in court.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei spokesperson Ngarimu Blair believes the Crown has not considered tikanga enough in its cross-claim process.

"Tikanga hasn't been considered to a large enough extent to the point that land within the heartland of one iwi is being transferred to iwi from elsewhere as part of their individual settlement which we have never agreed with and still don't agree with" Mr Blair said.

He said the land in question was either gifted, sold, or leased to the Crown and that it was in the heartland of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.

"We're talking about Central Auckland here not the whole Auckland region, from Mission Bay to Onehunga to the Whau Portage out west and back around, that's our heartland. And we're saying any land transferred as part of an individual settlement should only be to Ngāti Whātua or with our agreement."

Morehu Wilson of Ngāti Paoa said they wanted to protect their interests and settlement.

"We tried to meet and talk it through but unfortunately it ended up here [at court]. It's like returning to the Native Land Court days when our people were pitted against each other and our land was alienated."

Hauauru Rawiri, also of Ngāti Paoa, said they were clear about the Crown's settlement process and for them it was about working together.

"As one of the manawhenua tribes, as Ngāti Paoa, it's our role to manaaki and look after those that are living in Auckland, and for us it's not about exclusivity - it's about doing that together," Mr Rawiri said.

All parties now have to wait for a reserved decision to be made before turf lines can be drawn.

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