Major Ngāpuhi protest "fully on the cards"

By Raniera Harrison

Unhappy Ngāpuhi hapū members aren't ruling out taking their Treaty settlement grievances to Wellington if their voices remain unheard.

A crowd of Ngāpuhi descended on Kaikohe's Kohewhata Marae to seek answers today.

"The suggestion of a major hikoi or major protest action by Ngāpuhi is fully on the cards" says Hinerangi Himiona (Te Uri Taniwha, Ngāti Hineira, Ngāti Korohue, Ngāti Ruamahue).

All descendants of Puhi Moana Ariki, an estimated 300 Ngāpuhi gathered at their ancestral meeting house to discuss moving forward the tribe's Treaty settlement - estimated to be worth $500mil.

"It's not about the Crown time, or Crown space- It's about the hapū time and the hapū space and we're taking control of that," says Ted Wihongi (Te Uri o Hua).

Those gathered agreed to signal to the government, calling for immediate action to withdraw recognition of the Tūhoronuku mandate after 72 of 110 hapū voted against Te Rōpū Tūhono and their evolved settlement mandate last month.

"We should not be trying to go in to the Pākehā house to take care of our affairs, because our affairs will not be taken care of in the Pākehā's house" says Hori Parata (Ngātiwai, Ngāti Kororā).

"It's time to hikoi, kua tae ki te wā, kia hoki tahi tātou katoa i roto i tēnei kaupapa," says Tohe Ashby (Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Kawa, Ngāti Rāhiri).

"We voted Labour back in, we can vote Labour back out again- but we don't want to- our whanaunga, we need you to come and listen to us," adds Himiona.

Organisers of the occasion say they hope to regroup again in April.