February 10, 2014
Rushed mandate would split tribe
Veteran Northland politician Dover Samuels is warning that picking sides in Ngapuhi’s treaty claim is a recipe for disaster.
Prime Minister John Key used last week’s Treaty of Waitangi commemoration in the north to offer the iwi an advance on settlement if it started negotiations.
The Ngapuhi Runanga-backed Tuhoronuku group claims to have a mandate to represent the tribe, but a continuing challenge by Te Kotahitanga o Nga Hapu o Ngapuhi means the crown is wary of accepting it.
Mr Samuels says it’s a major split, and what is needed is mediation between the various factions.
"We’ve got to take the names out of this and then we’ve got to get people around the table that may represent the diverse views of Ngapuhi in terms of mandate. Whether it’s Kotahitanga, whether it’s Tuhoronuku, or whether it’s another group, you cannot polarise Ngapuhi. What you’ve got is probably 140,000, 150,000 beneficiaries here and if they don’t feel part of the mandate, you’ve got big problems. It won’t just be protesting outside of the tent," he says.
Mr Samuels says last Friday’s signing of the Ngati Kuri settlement should serve as a warning to Ngapuhi, because that settlement almost 20 years after the Waitangi Tribunal reported on the Muriwhenua land claims represents a generation of lost opportunity.
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