Forgotten iwi in protest
One Waitara group fears its history will be re-written if Te Atiawa formalises its settlement with the Crown.
Waitangi Tribunal claimants Andrea Moore and Robbie Taylor say the deal done between Te Atiawa and the Crown is based on the wrong version of history.
The pair have made a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal on behalf of Ngati Awa who they believe are the traditional land owners or mana whenua and the group from which Te Atiawa originated from.
According to Moore, Ngati Awa was also the iwi the government of the day dealt with up until the late 1800s.
Moore and Taylor said their research has turned up documents which support this stance.
"Our korero is paramount to the Te Atiawa story," Moore, who represents Manukorihi hapu on the Te Atiawa Iwi Authority (TAIA) board, said.
She said she had felt shut out and ignored by TAIA throughout the process.
"We should have been firstly part of their negotiations," she said.
Moore and Taylor, who travelled to Wellington to protest against Te Atiawa's initialling of the deed of settlement with the Crown on June 4, said they, and others, were still in the dark about what the settlement actually entailed.
"There are a lot of people that are unhappy," Moore said.
However, TAIA chairwoman Wikitoria Keenan said although she was aware of the group's concerns, they had yet to be heard by the tribunal.
"Just saying that they have a claim doesn't mean it has merit," she said.
She said despite Moore and Taylor's view that iwi history would be re-written if the deal was ratified, she believed it was already accurate.
"The whakapapa is the same, the people are still the same people," she said.
Keenan said the settlement negotiation had been made on behalf of the entire iwi, rather than on what individuals or certain groups wanted and it was now up to members to vote on the deal in the coming weeks.
"As many people as possible should take the opportunity to decide on that future," Keenan said.
If the settlement is formally signed in August, Moore and Taylor's claim will also considered to be settled, leaving them with no other recourse.
Moore said although they were both somewhat resigned to this, a no-vote to Te Atiawa's settlement was still a possibility.
Moore said this might force a re-think and provide a new opportunity for everyone involved to sit around the table again, rather than just the select few who had participated in the process to date.
However, if the deal did get the green light, Moore said she and Taylor would continue to voice their concerns at every opportunity they had.
"At least people will know that there is another side to the story and that is the truth," she said.
Taranaki Daily News