Ngāti Porou one step closer to Takutai Moana settlement

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

A convoy of Ngāti Porou are on their way to Parliament for the third and final reading of the Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Bill, the first of the Marine and Coastal Area Act 2011.

Through this legislation, Ngāti Porou stand to gain greater protection and management of their marine and coastal resources.

Ngāti Porou elder Boyce Te Maro says, “{The bill allows] Māori to have a place in the management of their own protocols pertaining to the marine and coastal areas, to the resources within it.  We've long had others telling us what we can and cannot do.”

It is a historic occasion and one that has been arduously fought for by leaders and supported by many hapū of Ngāti Porou over a period of 16 years.

“How many years has it been since the beginning of this journey, and the Pākehā is still attempting to find ways to speak on behalf of Māori?  What else is left for Pākehā to seize, and bind Māori so that we cannot move?” says Boyce Te Maro.

The purpose of this Act is to contribute to the legal expression, protection, and recognition of the continued exercise of mana by ngā hapū o Ngāti Porou in relation to ngā rohe moana o ngā hapū o Ngāti Porou.

Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Porou CE Herewini Te Koha says, “To retain the authority and power of hapū over their treasured coastal and marine areas, that's the positive thing....engaging in this process is empowering the voices of the hapū of this generation and the generations to come.”

In the hearts of those who are going are the many elders of Ngāti Porou who have passed, including those who helped pave the way for their people and those who played pivotal roles in getting the agreement across the line.

Ngāti Porou elder Hinetū Dell says, “For now, the verdict is that most of those issues are settled but who can say what will happen tomorrow.  There may indeed be another matter where we will need to return and re-apply the discourse, but that will happen in due course.”

The signing ceremony between Ngāti Porou and the Crown will take place tomorrow.