Hapu joins others 'left out' of claims

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 12/03/2014

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Another South Taranaki hapu has joined forces with other groups feeling left out of the treaty claims process.

Ngati Manuhiakai Marae chairman Henare Hawe said his hapu, Ngati Manu, felt it had been sidelined from Ngaruahine's Treaty of Waitangi settlement negotiations.

"We've been overlooked and left out," said Mr Hawe, who is of Ngati Manu and Ngati Haua descent.

He said he also did not think the right people were in charge of Ngaruahine's settlement negotiations.

"Do we have the right people heading up the claim? The answer is no," he said.

Mr Hawe said he had been in touch with Wellington-based lawyer Moana Sinclair to confirm his hapu, which has 55 members, would join the class action she and others hoped to take against the Crown.

The lawsuit aims to highlight the perceived flaws in the treaty claims process and the division they create within iwi.

Another South Taranaki hapu, Ngati Tu, signalled its intention to join the lawsuit in November last year.

Ms Sinclair confirmed she had spoken with Mr Hawe and said he was one of many who were unhappy with the process. This included iwi groups where claims had already been settled.

"You will find in every single one of them disgruntled groups," she said.

Ms Sinclair said the class action was a reaction to the fact that excluded parties had no redress within the current process as treaty settlements were full and final.

"The class action serves as a voice for those who are saying, hey, I don't agree with that settlement, you don't represent me," she said. However, progress with the action remained in "slow motion" because of a lack of funding.

Ngaruahine executive chair Daisy Noble said she was aware of an "internal" issue related to Mr Hawe's hapu but as a registered member of Ngaruahine, he was able to attend hui and take part in decision-making around the settlement.

"He has the opportunity to vote."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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