March 22, 2022
Mōtītī proper part of Ngāti Awa settlement
The Waitangi Tribunal has rejected a claim the tangata whenua of Mōtītī Island off Tauranga are an independent tribal group who warrant their own treaty settlement
Its Te Moutere o Mōtītī Inquiry report released today looks at a kinship review the crown undertook in 2015 and 2016 to determine whether the island came under the Ngāti Awa Settlement.
The tribunal found Te Patuwai and Te Whānau a Tauwhao are the tangata whenua of Mōtītī, and that Te Patuwai affiliate to Ngāti Awa.
It says the crown properly informed itself of the identity of Mōtītī tangata whenua through its kinship review and correctly assessed the claimants’ settlement status.
However, it found aspects of the Crown’s review process were flawed – especially, the way it initially engaged with the claimants and other groups – and offered suggestions on how it could have been improved.
It says tribal identity and affiliation are crucial matters in Te Ao Māori, and it did not think the Crown’s initial approach to the review was sufficiently culturally appropriate.
The Crown did not engage with affected groups at the outset, did not involve them in the process’s initial design, and failed to engage in a tikanga-based process to resolve the questions the review sought to answer, instead of making an assessment of them itself.