Mōkai Pātea mandate first step on hīkoi to Tiriti settlement
The Mōkai Pātea Waitangi Claims Trust welcomes the Crown’s recognition of its mandate, the critical first formal step towards Tiriti settlement, and warmly thanks the whanau, hapū and iwi of the Mōkai Pātea rohe who have supported and enabled this mahi to date.
“The Mōkai Pātea Waitangi Claims Trust thanks the iwi Rūnanga and people of Ngāti Tamakōpiri, Ngāti Whitikaupeka, Ngāi Te Ohuake and Ngāti Hauiti and the Owhaoko B&D Trust and the Aorangi Awarua Trust for their ongoing tautoko during this process,” says Trust chair Utiku Potaka.
“The feeling is primarily just relief at this point. Any sense of success is heavily tempered by the knowledge that although it has already taken many years to reach this point and yet the hīkoi to restore the mana of the iwi of Mōkai Pātea still has a long way to go.
“The Mōkai Pātea people of this rohe made submissions on our Draft Mandate Strategy in 2017 and in 2018, voted in the Mandate Vote in 2019, and then made submissions on the Draft Deed of Mandate in 2020.
“Our board and team acknowledge the effort and views of everyone who took part in those important engagements. We have listened intently to all the kōrero, made amendments and improvements where appropriate, and we thank all who participated for your patience and understanding,” says Mr Potaka.
Eighty percent of those who participated in the 2019 Mandate poll voted for The Mōkai Pātea Waitangi Claims Trust to represent the claimant community in negotiations with the Crown for the comprehensive settlement of all of the historical claims of Mōkai Pātea.
“We are humbled by the strength of that mandate and will continue to work for the aspirations and benefit of all Mōkai Pātea Nui Tonu, including those who have not yet supported the Trust’s role and mission.
“As ever, the door is open to them and we hope that now the Mandate has been confirmed by a proper and legitimate process, they will join us in moving the settlement process forward.
“Now that our Deed of Mandate is ratified, we can get on with developing the terms of negotiation for the settlement negotiations with the Crown. This will again be a challenge but we hope it can be achieved reasonably quickly and this process will now accelerate,” says Utiku.
The Mōkai Pātea Waitangi Claims Trust has progressed its claims in the Wai 2180 Waitangi Tribunal Taihape Inquiry, which is scheduled to conclude in early 2021, and has participated in the separate direct negotiations process with the Crown, for which the Deed of Mandate is the critical prerequisite.
Mōkai Pātea is a rohe (region) in the centre of Te Ika-a-Māui-(the North Island) that extends from the summit of the Desert Road in the north to just south of Rata in the south, and from just to the west of SH1 and Taihape across to the Ngaruroro river and the summit of the Ruahine in the east, and encompasses Taihape, Moawhango, Opaea, Winiata, Utiku, Mangaweka and Rātā and borders Waiouru, Mataroa and Hunterville.
The rūnanga of Ngāti Tamakōpiri, Ngāti Whitikaupeka, Ngāi Te Ohuake and Ngāti Hauiti, the four iwi of Mōkai Pātea, established the Mōkai Pātea Waitangi Claims Trust in the spirit of kotahitanga and tino rangatiratanga that has historically and traditionally characterised collective relationships in the rohe.
Mōkai Pātea was one of the last areas of Aotearoa-New Zealand in which Māori land was alienated by the Crown and Pākehā settlers. This included Tiriti breaches that occurred when well-developed Māori sheep farms and kāinga were lost in the 1890s, most infamously when Winiata Te Whaaro was arrested and his whānau evicted from Pokopoko, and when the Waiouru Military Training Area was being set up in in the 20th Century.