Tribal friction goes on

Last updated 05:00 19/02/2014
Pita Tipene and Raniera 'Sonny' Tau

LEADERS DIVIDED: Pita Tipene and Raniera 'Sonny' Tau disagree on how Ngapuhi should move forward.

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Ongoing friction within Ngapuhi continues as the tribe moves a step closer to settling 350 Waitangi Treaty claims.

The advisory group Tuhoronuku has just received clearance from the Government to act on behalf of the tribe during negotiations later this year.

Tuhoronuku now needs to elect 22 new members to its board through an independently monitored process.

But Te Kotahitanga o nga Hapu o Ngapuhi, a second group that lobbied hard for the right to represent Ngapuhi and failed to get crown support, may boycott the board election.

Te Kotahitanga members will meet soon to decide on a course of action, including the possibility of a legal challenge.

More than 3500 submissions were received by the Crown around the representation issue and 63 per cent opposed the Tuhoronuku mandate.

Angry Te Kotahitanga spokesman Pita Tipene says the Government's approval of Tuhoronuku shows its determination to get the Ngapuhi settlement over the line at any cost before the next general election.

Far North Labour MP and shadow Maori Affairs spokesman Shane Jones says he is deeply conscious that people are apprehensive about the Crown decision to recognise Tuhoronuku.

"There are ample opportunities for their differences to be ironed out. I recall an elder from Te Kao issuing a warning: " First land the whale before quarrelling about how it should be cut up."

The Tuhoronuku board will include two elders, four urban representatives, one runanga seat, and 15 people for Hokianga, Kaikohe, Waimate,Taiamai, Whangaroa, Bay of Islands and Whangarei ki Mangakahia.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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