Petition calls for halt to Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua Treaty Negotiations

By D'Angelo Martin

A petition has been put together by hapū and iwi of the Whangārei region opposing to the Ngāti Whātua Settlements. The mandate given by the Crown to Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua continues to be challenged as it doesn't have support from all hapū.

Huhana Lyndon, from Ngā Hapū o Whangārei, says, “We will continue to reach out to our neighbouring relatives in the region to seek support from them for our cause.”

As of this afternoon, more than 250 people have signed the online petition. According to Lyndon, it's been a prolonged issue due to no clear indication of interest shown by Hapū for the settlement. Some agree while others continue to disagree.

Lyndon says, “One of the main outcomes we seek is for the negotiations to be delayed. For hapū, claimants, marae and those affected by this settlement to have the time and space to consider the settlement. A halt to negotiations is required until such time that Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua can show they have consent to proceed any further.”

Len Bristowe from Te Orewai says, “We don’t want Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua to come into our region and try and fix the issues that exist here in Whangarei.”

Te Ao contacted Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua for comment but no response was given from them.

Bristowe says, “I feel saddened at the fact that Government manages to dictate and turn our people against each other. Where debates, fights, and disagreements is the only option.”

Lyndon adds, “We've decided to put together an urgent request to the Waitangi tribunal where our issues and concerns relating to this settlement can be raised and heard by the Crown.”

A hui was held on Wednesday 23 October at Terenga Paraoa Marae where 69 affected descendants met with Te Arawhiti and Ngāti Whātua. A resolution was passed calling a halt to negotiations until Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua can show that they have gained consent from all affected hapū, marae and claimants.

The goal for the petition is to receive 500 or more signatures, which will go towards delaying the settlement proceedings between the Crown and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua.