Ngāti Wai genealogy workshop helps make reconnection

By Dean Nathan

A genealogy workshop underway in Whangarei is seen as one a way of addressing the division that has arisen over policies and processes to settle treaty claims within Ngāti Wai territory.

Huhana Lyndon from Ngati Wai says, “Yes, it's important that we maintain the kinship amongst the respective families and Ngāti Wai hapū.”

Organisers see this as a way of addressing the conflict and divisions arising from Crown policies and processes to settle treaty claims in the Ngāti Wai region.

Mylie George, a descendant from Te Uri O Hikihiki says, “It’s about us as Ngāti Wai really rejuvenating who we are and being a stand for what is important to us.  And that we will not be dictated by the Crown, that we are Ngāti Wai in the very first instance.  So it’s been really beautiful this kaupapa here today supporting that.”

Ngāti Tautahi member Hone Matenga says, “This wānanga is all about the genealogies to our hereditary rights under the 1835 Declaration of Independence and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

An urgent hearing of the Waitangi Tribunal to investigate the Crown recommended mandate of the Ngāti Wai Trust Board is set down for hearing in October. There are also relatives from Ngāti Rehua in attendance who are challenging its mandate to settle claims to The Great Barrier Island.

Lyndon says, “We must leave the issue of settlement to the side to focus on our genealogies and the historical connections between families and hapū.”

Organisers say that ongoing workshops will assist in creating more understanding and informed decisions on issues.