The Crown is providing an opportunity for the hapu of Ngāpuhi to rebuild its framework from the ground up for collective negotiations to deal with its historical Treaty claims, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little and Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta announced today.
The Crown is also seeking proposals from takiwā (area) groups within Ngāpuhi about how takiwā-specific claims for cultural redress should be negotiated.
“As well as providing for negotiations at a more localised level I am also clear that the only sensible way to deal with issues that are common to all hapu is for those issues to be discussed together,” says Andrew Little.
Over the next six months the Crown will work closely with Ngāpuhi groups to establish a new process for building new and sustainable mandates for Ngāpuhi negotiations.
Previously, the Crown has recognised the mandate of Tūhoronuku Independent Mandate Authority to negotiate on behalf of Ngāpuhi.
“TIMA has made an immense contribution in energising Ngāpuhi about the need to move towards resolution of their claims, and encouraging hapū, whānau and individuals to engage in and debate the search for a collective solution. These have often been hard conversations, but they are necessary ones,” Andrew Little says.
“The Crown cannot grant a mandate, or discontinue it, the Crown can only recognise a mandate where and if it has been granted by iwi members,” Nanaia Mahuta says.
“A mandate is not static. The mandate that TIMA previously held no longer provides for the kind of opportunities that Ngāpuhi have told us they are seeking.”
With this background, Ngāpuhi now have the opportunity to rebuild a new model to represent the iwi and its takiwā and move into negotiations.
“It has also become apparent that area-specific cultural redress is a bottom line for almost everyone involved. As a result, we are inviting proposals from takiwā (area) groups on how cultural redress can be negotiated for each takiwā, within a collective model,” says Andrew Little.
Andrew Little said the government is also considering establishing a new Ngāpuhi sovereign investment fund. The idea of the fund, a detailed proposal for which has yet to be developed, would be to help provide assets which could be used in any agreement for redress with Ngāpuhi.
“Today’s announcements give Ngāpuhi a fresh opportunity to build a cohesive mandate to negotiate redress for their claims, to push forward with area-specific cultural redress for their takiwā, and to see the fruits of what agreement with the Crown could bring for their people,” says Andrew Little.