February 28, 2014
Mahaki mandate bid stumbles at first hurdle
Te Aitanga a Mahaki Trust has been rebuffed in its bid to fast track negotiations of the iwi’s claims in the Gisborne region.
Negotiator Willie Te Aho says Treaty Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson yesterday refused to support the process it established to gain a mandate.
The trust estimates the settlement of its historic claims should be about a $120 million because of the atrocities inflicted on the iwi during the wars of the 1860s.
Mr Te Aho says the trust will meet with its people around the country to ask for the mandate, even if the government refuses to take leadership.
"Basically they are saying you are not a priority, and we said we are a priority, we said we’re prepared to seek the mandate through our Te Aitanga a Mahaki Trust, but the government clearly doesn’t see us as a priority, so we will continue on, we will get the mandate, we will get strong support of our people, and then we will go to the Waitangi Tribunal for binding recommendations," he says.
Mr Te Aho says the Waitangi Tribunal’s December report on a claim by the Mangatu Incorporation indicates the iwi has a strong case to seek an order for the return of forest land, accumulated rentals and additional compensation.
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