Ngapuhi have given their mandate to Tuhoronuku - the Crown now needs to get on with settlement, Raniera (Sonny) Tau says.
Mr Tau is interim chairman of Te Ropu o Tuhoronuku which rejects a recent report by Tuku Morgan in a bid to progress the stalled Treaty negotiations process.
"This report is an insult to the mana of Ngapuhi. I challenge any other iwi to say they would be happy to adopt and implement this report. Mr Morgan was engaged by the Crown, this is a Crown commissioned report and it is not for the Crown to direct or instruct Ngapuhi what to do, how to do it and who will do it", he says.
Ngapuhi voted, in what he says was an open and fair process.
"The voting could have gone either way, such is the risk of a democratic process."
He says Tuhoronuku will keep faith with the 76 per cent of Ngapuhi who voted and gave their mandate in September 2011, following the biggest awareness and communications campaign in the history of iwi Maori.
Ngapuhi voted in support of a mandate representative structure that was developed by Ngapuhi over four years, consulted on at more than 60 hui and cost almost $3m - underwritten by Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi, he says.
"Yet instead of starting the settlement negotiations process, the Crown is shamefully dragging its heels, requesting further consultation round one after the next, together with more and more compromises in an attempt to accommodate a minority group."
After Te Kotahitanga challenged the mandate claimed by Tuhoronuku, the Crown requested Tuhoronuku hold extra hui with Ngapuhi to discuss hapu representation and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson appointed Mr Morgan to facilitate a process to resolve the nature and extent of hapu representation on Ngapuhi's mandated entity.
"What has now been produced is a document proposing scrapping our work and replacing it with a new structure and new mandate promoted by a previous Tainui chair, Mr Morgan. This proposal would set back Ngapuhi 100 years," Mr Tau says.
He says the Crown and Mr Morgan are treating Te Kotahitanga as an equal grouping to Tuhoronuku's parent, Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi.
"They are not; there is only one entity with a mandate from Ngapuhi - Te Ropu o Tuhoronuku."
Te Kotahitanga co-chairman Pita Tipene says an agreement is still in place not to speak to the media until the parties have sat down and talked.
"When we make agreements we adhere to them. We have not yet sat down and talked with Sonny," he says.
Mr Tau says he will not stand back and allow Ngapuhi to be insulted.
"The time for indecision by the Crown - which is holding back the cultural, social and economic development of Ngapuhi and Northland-- is now over. We totally reject the Morgan report - commissioned by the Crown - that proposes starting the process again with a new model designed by Mr Morgan, which does not even make provision for a democratic approval process by Ngapuhi . . . The Government says its 47 per cent at the polls was a mandate to sell state-owned assets, yet it does not recognise the 76 per cent who voted for the Ngapuhi mandate."
Mr Tau says the Runanga:
Is a substantial organisation that works on behalf of all Ngapuhi to promote the interests and aspirations of our people everywhere
Leads the cultural, social and economic growth of Ngapuhi, Aotearoa's biggest iwi
With its subsidiaries, it employs approximately 50 people, making it a major employer in the Far North
Has assets of $43m
Is a Joint Mandated Iwi Organisation [MIO] in terms of the Maori Fisheries Act 2004, bringing with it statutory obligations
As at June 30, 2012, it had 44,804 registered members.
Te Ropu o Tuhoronuku, an independent subcommittee of Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi, represents all Ngapuhi in Te Tiriti o Waitangi settlement matters. See its Deed of Mandate on tuhoronuku.com.
- Bay Chronicle