Owae Marae shuts door on ceremony

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 30/06/2014

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Te Atiawa's treaty negotiators have been shut out from holding its upcoming settlement ceremony at the iwi's spiritual home.

Te Atiawa Iwi Authority chairwoman Wikitoria Keenan said Owae marae chairman David Rogers had told her of the decision to decline the booking earlier this month, in light of "sensitivities" Otaraua and Manukorihi hapu had about the settlement.

Despite being disappointed with the news, given that many of the iwi's most important events had been held at the marae over the years, Keenan said she had no choice but to accept it.

"That's the way it is and we will go somewhere else," she said.

The decision comes as debate within iwi and hapu circles continues about the pending deal, which is scheduled to be formally signed off on August 9.

Ngati Tawhirikura hapu is one of those that expressed unhappiness about the proposed deal.

Chairman Glen Skipper said the hapu's voice had not been heard throughout the process and the settlement in its current form did not fit with its goals.

"When we look at our aspirations they are not supported by aspects of the settlement," Skipper said.

Skipper said although he and other Ngati Tawhirikura members acknowledged the financial potential the settlement presented, it still fell well short, especially in terms of cultural redress. "We're losing more than we're gaining," he said.

Keenan said she was aware of a "definite campaign" against the deal but remained unapologetic for the deal negotiators had struck with the Crown.

"I say to people, concentrate on the settlement. Look at it and see if it's good enough and decide accordingly," she said.

Voting for registered members began on June 12 and closes at noon on July 17.

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