Hapu to meet on Ngaruahine treaty deal

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 09/04/2014

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South Taranaki hapu will meet this weekend in a bid to force a Government rethink about its proposed treaty deal with Ngaruahine.

Ngati Tu chairman Hori Manuirirangi said the deal between the Crown and the mandated authority Nga Hapu o Ngaruahine Iwi Inc did not reflect the views of the majority affected by any sign-off.

"We don't believe that group has sufficient support," Manuirirangi said.

He said another reason he wanted current negotiations to be suspended was because the proposed deal in no way reflected the real loss experienced by the iwi since 1840, which he estimated to be close to $5 billion.

Manuirirangi said although he knew the Government could not afford that figure, the proposed $67.5 million on the table at the moment should be considered a starting point rather than the total amount.

The Lepperton man said his hapu, along with others, had raised these concerns in the past with the Government but had largely been ignored.

"The Crown are calling the shots and ignoring what we have to say," he said.

He said the Government's "foolhardy" attempts to sign off on a deal left unhappy hapu with little option.

Upon formal adoption, treaty settlements are full and final.

As a result of his ongoing frustration, Manuirirangi added his hapu's name to a class action being organised by Wellington-based lawyer Moana Sinclair in November 2013. The action aims to highlight the flaws in the treaty claims process.

Ngati Manu hapu chairman Henare Hawe, who announced his intention to join the lawsuit in March, will also be at this Saturday's meeting at Oeo Marae.

Manuirirangi said this was not the first time a meeting had been held with the disaffected groups.

He said Nga Hapu o Ngaruahine Iwi Inc representatives, including executive chair Daisy Noble, had been invited in the past to meetings but had not attended.

Manuirirangi said an open letter to Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Chris Finlayson would be sent after the meeting and hapu would await a response before they decided on their next move.

"We're going to keep on fighting," he said.

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