NRAIT Board Blog
As you are probably aware one of our large focuses here at NRAIT currently is around communication and how we make sure that our members are aware of what is going on within the organisation. With this in mind we have decided to get our trustees to provide a brief, informal update following board meetings to keep everyone in the loop.
Ngā mihi o te wā hararei ki a koutou katoa
On Friday the 6th of December we met up for our last hui of the year. We covered a lot of ground, I'll pick out some of the highlights.
There has been a lot of talk lately about the skills and strengths of our Trustees. Trustees have been tasked with identifying what they can do to up-skill and ensure that they have an appropriate skill set to perform their duties going forward. As Trustees we are very aware of the importance of preserving and growing our taonga tuku iho. In the ever changing environment that we are operating in we need to make sure that our knowledge remains current and relevant.
There has been a lot of work put in lately to create effective Dashboards, both across our financials and also to help us track progress for our Te Whanake initiatives. These are proving very useful to gain a quick understanding of where things are at.
We have completed our Communications review and a Communications Strategy has been developed. So now it's time to prioritise the suggestions and put them in to action. Thank you for all that have been involved and the invaluable feedback you have provided.
Some feedback from this we have received is about improving how we communicate at our AGM. We are looking at ways of trying to make this event more accessible and relevant for our members and make the information being communicated easier to understand.
We are also looking at ways of increasing uptake for education grants and scholarships and ensuring they are accessible and relevant to our members needs.
We are very excited about the appointment of Hamihi Duncan as Motueka High School's new Māori Head of Department. Hamihi has a very strong Te Reo and Māori education background and has already expressed a strong interest in local dialect, haka and history, to ensure that his teachings are relevant for our rohe.
And finally it was great to have our hui closed with a karakia by John Katene.
Ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa. Kia pai tō koutou whakata me ō koutou whānau.
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.