A battle over iwi mandate continues

By Taroi Black

Central North Island's Ngāti Hinemanu me Ngāti Paki (NHNP) Heritage Trust and the Mokai Pātea Waitangi Claims Trust are at loggerheads over the way forward to settle their peoples historical grievances.

Iwi members and representatives from both Trusts met today in Auckland in attempt to resolve their mandate issues among themselves.

Chairperson NHNP Jordan Winiata-Haines says, “Our main concern is that we could face the risk of losing our self-independence as Ngāti Hinemanu. Mokai Pātea (Trust) doesn’t agree that Ngāti Hinemanu has iwi status among the other iwi that are on the negotiation table.”   

But one Trust Member for Mokai Patea Waitangi Claims Trust, Te Rina Warren isn’t buying that. 

“According to our genealogical connections they are a hapū. This always creates robust discussions among Māori. There has been many occasions that we have joined together as sub groups of a larger collective,” says Mrs Warren.

“When you return home of course you reinstate your status as an independent political unit. So we must remember there are many occasions that we come together to achieve a common purpose,” she says.

Mokai Patea Waitangi Claims Trust represents four iwi Ngāi Te Ohuake, Ngāti Hauiti, Ngāti Tamakōpiri and Ngāti Whitikaupeka.  While Ngāti Hinemanu me Ngāti Paki (NHNP) Heritage Trust say they represent an iwi with five hapū.

Mr Winiata-Haines told Te Ao Māori NHNP when Mokai Patea Waitangi Claims Trust started their planning to draft out a mandate they claimed it was fraught. “We didn’t agree at the time. When the Crown held meetings with Mokai Patea, they were advised to come to an agreement with Hinemanu.”  

The sixth meeting for the iwi from the Central North Island was held in Auckland to put together a mandate so that the Trust can get to the table with the Crown in order to execute their Mokai Patea claims.

The opposed iwi also claim there are other affiliates within the Mokai Patea region who don't agree with the mandate.

NHNP Heritage Trust trustee member Awhina Twomey said almost half of the 35 hapū under Mokai Patea aren’t active. “Who gave them the right to speak on behalf of all the 35 hapū. We don’t approve and we (iwi) contains five hapū which leave 30 other hapū left. Ngāti Upokoiri also said yesterday they aren’t a hapū, they are an iwi.”

Adrian Tangaroa Wagner also from Ngāti Hinemanu is supporting the mandate. “I’ve said to my people they can’t speak for me. They can speak for themselves.”

Votes for the mandate will close in July.