Waitangi Tribunal Update - July
On 31 July your Trustees filed a submission on the Te Tau Ihu Claims Settlement Bill on behalf of Ngāti Rārua Ᾱtiawa Iwi Trust descendants asking that the Bill not be passed in its present form and that the Crown resume the settlement process for the mana whenua ki Motueka. Our reasons for pursuing this course of action are threefold:
- The Bill discriminates against and cuts across the legal rights of the mana whenua ki Motueka to resolve their claims with the Crown as they see fit.
- The Ngāti Rārua Atiawa Iwi Trust had no involvement in negotiation of the settlements outlined in the Bill, and we do not accept that it settles the historic grievances of NRAIT descendants.
- The iwi trusts who negotiated and agreed to settle their own claims had no mandate to settle the claims of our Trust.
It is deeply unfortunate that we have had to resort to this action but the issues involved are of immense concern and have a fundamental impact on NRAIT descendants, whose rights we are bound under our Empowering Act to protect. It is important to recognise that the return of the Whakarewa lands under that Act was a private settlement with the Anglican Church, not a Treaty of Waitangi settlement. This was acknowledged by the Waitangi Tribunal in its 2008 report on the Northern South Island Claims that stated that the Whakarewa lands were returning not to the beneficiaries of the tenths “…but to those iwi more connected to the particular lands (the resident iwi of Motueka). Nonetheless the fact that this land has finally been returned does not settle their Treaty claims either.”
We regret any discomfort this action may cause among NRAIT owners and we are committed as your Trustees to protecting your rights and endeavouring to resolve the issues to the very best of our ability.
Waitangi Tribunal Update - June
On 15 May the Presiding Judge of the Waitangi Tribunal released an unfavourable decision with respect to an application made in December last year on behalf of mana whenua ki Motueka.
The application concerned the protection of your rights as an NRAIT land owner and the alienation of your interests in Crown Forest Lands as proposed in certain impending Treaty settlements. The unfavourable decision was not unexpected and confirms the Crown’s overall strategy to mitigate their risk regarding liability for compensation for the use of Crown Forest Lands over time.
We are now considering our legal position with regard to the decision, and are also exploring other mechanisms to represent our concerns with the proposed individual Iwi Treaty Settlement Bills pertaining to your lands. The full decision can be downloaded or viewed here.
We remain firm on our position and do not agree that the proposed settlement provides adequate redress for the historical aspect of our claims, or that forestry lands can be included in the settlements without the agreement of the resident iwi/mana whenua ki Motueka. We will keep you updated on this matter.