Ngāpuhi votes against entering into direct negotiations

By Raniera Harrison

66 out of 104 Ngāpuhi hapū have voted against the evolved settlement model put forward by Te Rōpū Tūhono and the government to settle what is being touted as the largest Treaty settlement to date.

It seems the door has shut on Te Rōpū Tūhono- for now.

Ngāpuhi hapū members says evolved settlement mandate was half-cooked.

"Ngāpuhi need to find a new direction," says Huhana Lyndon, spokesperson for the collective of hapū in Whangārei Terenga Parāoa.

"We are currently analysing what our options are at this point in time.  We have not yet reached a viable option for us to follow," says Te Rōpū Tūhono lead, Hōne Sadler.

Te Kāea approached Te Rōpū Tūhono's Rāniera Tau and technical advisor Willie Te Aho, neither of whom wanted to be interviewed today.

Whangārei hapū members say there is a lot to be taken from the results.

"They need to go back in their genealogy to the hapū level and redefine their mandate to achieve settlement," says Lyndon.

However, Sadler, who is the chair of Tūhoronuku Iwi Mandated Authority, the entity given mandate to enter direct negotiations on behalf of Ngāpuhi, says, "If we're talking at a hapū level, look at those who speak for the hapū.  Not one Ngāpuhi hapū has more then 200 members."

According to members, the pathway forward is clear for those 66 hapū who voted against the evolved mandate settlement for the claim, estimated to be worth $500mil.

"We're meeting, planning and generating discussion about the way forward.  In coming months, we will meet again," says Lyndon.

And as for whether or not the Te Rōpū Tūhono leads will step down from their governance roles following the Ngāpuhi voting results?

"What for?  What for?  That's all I have to say about that," says Sadler.

Tūhoronuku are expected to meet on Friday at Terenga Parāoa Marae, where it is expected a way forward for Ngāpuhi to be discussed.