The settlement process
The settlement of an iwi’s claims against the Crown for breaches of Te Tiriti can be a time-consuming and costly process. The confederated iwi of Mōkai Pātea decided to undertake their claims through the Waitangi Tribunal rather than entering direct negotiations with the Crown initially. This decision is always under review to ensure that the best outcomes can be gained for all of the confederated iwi of Mōkai Pātea.
The Mōkai Pātea Claims
The Waitangi claims which have been lodged with the Tribunal, and which are currently part of the Trust are:
- Wai 1705 (a comprehensive Mōkai Pātea claim, on behalf of Ngāti Hauiti, Ngāi Te Ohuake, Ngāti Whitikaupeka, and Ngati Tamakopiri)
- Wai 385 (focused on the Utiku Township and related concerns)
- Wai 581 (Ngāti Hauiti claims)
- Wai 588 (issues relating to Oruamatua-Kaimanawa)
- Wai 647 (Awarua claim and related concerns)
- Wai 1888 (Ngāti Whitikaupeka claim)
- Wai 2091 (mana wahine claim on behalf of whānau and hapū of Ngāti Hauiti)
- MRI (source of the Ngaruroro River and related issues)
Other claimants are always welcome to bring any claims which are in the Mōkai Pātea rohe into the Trust. Please make contact with the Claims Manager. The Mōkai Pātea Waitangi Claims Trust is maintaining a close watch on the freshwater claim filed by the New Zealand Māori Council, because of the significant interests in freshwater in this rohe.
Each of these Mōkai Pātea claims has its own statement of claim. These claims are able to be amended as the historical research is undertaken, and to update the claims since they were first filed with the Tribunal. The claims focus on the fact that the whānau, hapū and iwi that comprise Mōkai Pātea exercised tino rangatiratanga over the rohe, in accordance with their tikanga. These include ancestral lands, and the awa and other resources within the rohe.
The claims against the Crown include the introduction of Native Land Court processes which failed to provide for Mōkai Pātea customary rights, and failed to provide sufficient lands, the environmental destruction of waahi tapu and mahinga kai.
The Waitangi Tribunal process itself falls into three broad phases:
- Interlocutory and preliminary stage: Judicial conferences are called to determine a research programme for the Inquiry, to identify claimants and any jurisdictional and boundary issues, and to set timeframes for the hearings. The Taihape Inquiry is in this stage at present, and we are awaiting a date to be set for the next Waitangi Tribunal judicial conference, which will confirm the research programme for Phase II. Research will then be undertaken.
- Hearings stage: Claimants present their oral and traditional research in the hearing stage. Also, historians commissioned by CFRT or the Tribunal present their evidence, and are questioned by the parties. The Crown also presents its evidence.
- Submissions and Report writing stage: Legal submissions are filed, and the Tribunal writes the report.
The Trust has engaged legal counsel to assist with its claims. Leo’s bio follows:
Leo Watson – Legal Counsel
Leo is a barrister and solicitor based in Napier, with extensive experience in Māori land and Treaty of Waitangi law. Leo graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts (Māori Language and Customs). He has worked as a lawyer since 1997 representing whānau, hapū and iwi in matters relating to land rights, Public Works, natural resources, oil and gas, radio spectrum, fisheries, foreshore and seabed, and constitutional change. For more information about Leo please visit his website.
Registration is easy!
Download the Registration Form, fill in the relevant details and send it back to the Trust on the address on the form or give to one of the Trustees for your iwi.