September 11, 2015
Tribunal finds flaws in Tuhoronuku mandate
The Waitangi Tribunal has found flaws in the way the crown went about giving Tuhoronuku the mandate to negotiate Ngapuhi’s historic treaty claims, but it stopped short of saying the mandate should be done again.
Instead a panel led by Judge Sarah Reeves recommended the crown suspend negotiations to give Ngapuhi the opportunity to address the issues it has identified.
That includes allowing individual hapu to determine whether they wish to continue being represented by Tuhoronuku – in other words, to opt out.
Tuhoronuku was set up by Te Runanga o Ngapuhi, but before the mandate was granted it was extensively modified to ensure its independence and give hapu more say.
The tribunal rejected the claim that the crown had predetermined its decision to recognise Tuhoronuku, but it said the mandate was recognised without clear evidence of hapu support.
It thus failed in its obligation to protect the ability of hapu to exercise their rangatiratanga in deciding how and by whom they would be represented in settlement negotiations.
The report comes as Tuhoronuku prepares to vote for a new chair.
Sonny Tau, who stepped aside when he was charged with possessing five dead kukupa, says he may contest the position.
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