June 23, 2020
Discontent rumbles in Whakatōhea
The Waitangi Tribunal has been asked to look into the crown’s resumption of negotiations with the Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust.
Tuariki John Delamere and Te Ringahuia Hata say the crown is selectively interpreting the results of a 2018 referendum ordered by the tribunal to justify pressing on with negotiations with an entity the majority of Whakatōhea do not support.
They say opposition to the trust’s mandate has increased since the vote, with 5 out of 6 hapū and 29 out of 31 claimants opposing direct negotiations,.
One hapū, Ngati Ruatakena, has withdrawn its claim so it can pursue it through the Whakatōhea District Inquiry that is happening in parallel.
As a former crown negotiator, Mr Delamere helped negotiate a settlement with Whakatōhea in the 1990s that failed to win enough support in the Ōpōtiki-based iwi to be ratified.
He says the crown is treating Whakatōhea as a bunch of uneducated and illiterate natives who should do as they are told.
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