November 15, 2018
Ūpokorehe votes no but swamped again
A Bay of Plenty iwi says the vote on the Whakatōhea mandate was confusing, and it will continue pushing for a separate process.
Kahukore Baker says Ūpokorehe has been fighting for 30 years to be treated as an iwi in its own right, rather than being assimilated into either the Tūhoe or Whakatōhea settlements.
She says two thirds of Ūpokorehe people aren’t registered with Whakatōhea, because they have a different descent line.
Those who were able to vote strongly favoured the claim going through the Waitangi Tribunal, where their story can finally be told.
"For us it has always been about mana whenua, mana moana, what happened in the raupatu, and who we are as a people and about our whakapapa because the story we haven't been able to tell is how the crown took our own sacred maunga and rohe and divided it up, put it into individual title, said it was Te Ūpokorehe but a lot of those people actually weren’t," Ms Baker says.
She says the ballot paper was confusing, because people weren’t given the chance for a clear choice between continuing negotiations under the Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Trust or having a full Waitangi Tribunal hearing.
The result was a poll where 56 percent overall voted in favour of negotiations continuing, despite there also being a majority wanting a hearing.
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