December 20, 2022
Wairarapa negotiator defends divisive settlement
The chair of Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-a-Rua Settlement Trust, Haami Te Whaiti, is defending legislation that blocks access to legal processes by a Mangakino-based group swept into the settlement.
The passing of the settlement bill last week means the Waitangi Tribunal can no longer consider Wairarapa Moana Incorporation’s request for the return of land under a $600m Waikato River hydo dam, which the Supreme Court said should go ahead.
Wairarapa Moana chair Kingi Smiler says the negotiators were weak in letting the crown keep the incorporation’s WAI 85 claim in the bill.
But Mr Te Whaiti says the iwi has been waiting for a long time.
“All of us without exception, with no exceptions, have been party, involved in defining the journey we should take on the leadership of our iwi to achieve a comprehensive outcome for our people,” he says.
Mr Te Whaiti says the prospect of the Waitangi Tribunal ordering the return of state owned enterprise assets had created expectations in some parts of the iwi, but now that’s off the table he hopes it can find unity again.