Hapu feel let down by Treaty settlement

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 01/08/2014

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Members of three Te Atiawa hapu are disappointed concerns about the iwi's pending Treaty settlement appear to have been ignored.

Yesterday, members of Otaraua, Manukorihi and Ngati Tawhirikura hapu met a delegation from the Crown, including chief negotiator Rick Barker.

The meeting was organised in response to a concerted effort the hapu groups have made to voice their concerns about the $87 million Treaty settlement deal negotiated between Te Atiawa Iwi Authority (TAIA) and the Crown.

Otaraua chairman Rawiri Doorbar said most of the discussion at the meeting focused on the Waitara endowment lands, but no real outcomes or decisions had been made and the groups felt their concerns had not been listened to.

"There was a genuine feeling of disappointment at the end," he said.

Doorbar said he while he hoped the delegation would report their concerns back to Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Chris Finlayson, he was unsure how much difference it would make.

Doorbar said the hapu were also still none the wiser about how iwi members voted during the recent ratification process, as the delegation refused to comment.

"They said they weren't at liberty to discuss the outcome of the votes."

Despite the voting period ending on July 17, the numbers of people who took part in the vote, as well as how many voted for or against the deal, have yet to be made publicly available by TAIA.

Another at yesterday's meeting was Manukorihi delegate Andrea Moore, who also left feeling deflated.

"Basically, they came with nothing for us," she said.

She said she was frustrated by the lack of concern the delegation appeared to show about how the three hapu had felt about being shut out of negotiations. She hoped the minister took note of what he was told about the meeting and that he thought twice about approving the deal, scheduled to be signed off on August 9.

Ngati Tawhirikura chairman Glen Skipper, who sent a personal letter to Finlayson outlining a number of issues he had about the settlement, said he too was left feeling disillusioned.

"There was nothing there for us," he said.

He said the Government representatives told him some of his concerns would be tabled for the minister to consider.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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