Te Rohe Pōtae inquiries focus on tikanga

By Heeni Brown

There are over 170 claims inquiries into the Te Rohe Pōtae district this week which makes it one of NZ's largest inquires. The Crown says in its closing submissions "the attempts to generalise elements of 'Tikanga' as a 'Taonga' are not useful."

Evidence given by Rangianiwaniwa Pehikino states that 'Tikanga' is the core of the Te Rohe Pōtae's identity and that the Crown should not have attacked it.

The Crown says attempts to make parts of 'Tikanga' as 'Taonga', potentially risks and undermines the importance of what 'Taonga' is considered under the Treaty of Waitangi.

According to the Crown, it's been difficult defining the meaning of tikanga.

Hirini Moko Mead says, “I think for Māori today the most important challenge is how to hang on to it.”

The Waitangi Tribunal speaks about the pressures that have affected the Te Rohe Pōtae.

Pou Temara says, “I guess there are many tikanga that have been lost because of the imposition of certain legislation that imposed on those tikanga.”

Tom Roa, a claimant for Ngāti Maniapoto, one of the bigger iwi in the Te Rohe Pōtae district says since the arrival of the first Pākehā into their district their way of life has been affected heavily.

A significant portion of the discussions have been based around the Ōhākī Tapu or sacred oath- a series of agreements with the Crown that recognised the full autonomy over land belonging to ancestors of Te Rohe Pōtae, like Wahanui, Manga known also as Rewi Maniapoto, Taonui Hikaka, Te Rerenga Wetere and others.

The last of 17 scheduled hearings will take place in Wellington in February.

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