11 Jan 2017

Iwi to meet to clear overlapping Treaty settlements

9:22 am on 11 January 2017

Three iwi will meet in Tauranga today to discuss their issues with the government's approach to settling Treaty claims in areas with overlapping interests.

Paora Stanley

Tauranga's Ngāi Te Rangi chief executive Paora Stanley Photo: RNZ / Justine Murray

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei from Auckland, Ngāi Te Rangi from Tauranga, and Waikato Tainui have all had issues with neighbouring iwi claiming rights in their rohe.

The Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei spokesperson Ngarimu Blair said at the end of the day the process iwi try to follow is set by the Crown.

"What we're saying is that tikanga is a part of New Zealand, it is a part of Common Law and the tikanga around Māori customs and land ownership and management have to be included."

He said they're really trying to force the Crown to take tikanga issues on board. But presently it is done at great expense to iwi and in the case of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, through the High Court, Mr Blair said.

Ngāi Te Rangi chief executive Paora Stanley said it was not shy of taking legal action if that was what was needed.

He said that includes doing cross-claims on Hauraki, who initialled their settlement just before Christmas, and also filing under urgency to the Waitangi Tribunal.

"If there's a way of resolving that a lot more smarter and less fiscally demanding then we'll do it.

"But if we've got to go to court, we'll go to court," Mr Stanley said.

Mr Blair said the Crown's policy is to say it has no interest and no role in determining tribal boundaries.

But, he said, for Māori the Treaty was signed in 1840 and "that's really when the boundaries were frozen".

"It's a bit of a cop-out for the Crown to say it's got no interest in dealing with those issues."

He said he hoped discussions today would help iwi understand each other's common concerns and how they could work together.

"How [the government] have been running the cross-claims policy over the past few years is really setting up potentially future contemporary claims and really undermining the durability of settlements they have achieved already," Mr Blair said.

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