The deadline for Tauranga Moana to contest settlement claims by Hauraki iwi within the Tauranga region has been extended.
The original deadline was tomorrow May 2 but Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little has extended it by a further 16 days.
Little says, “they wanted a little bit more time so we gave them a little bit more time."
It's time which Ngāi Te Rangi Chairman Charlie Tawhiao is grateful for and says was bought by Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey raising the issue with the minister.
"With Tamati further explaining to the minister our perspective he now has a more thorough understanding about the depth of the issue," says Tawhiao.
In 2004 the Waitangi Tribunal said Hauraki iwi have customary interests in Tauranga, which Ngāi Te Rangi says it was not consulted about.
Ngai Te Rangi say the Hauraki Settlement, which overlaps their settlement, would give Hauraki Māori cultural authority in Tauranga and rights over Tauranga Harbour which they dispute.
The iwi wants the Crown to step back and allow for a tikanga process so iwi involved can resolve the competing claims.
Tawhiao says, “It is not for the government to placate tensions between our iwi and Hauraki, only we can do that with our own protocol”.
The situation is similar to that of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, who took legal action against the Crown, arguing that tikanga is part of common law and should be considered by government during settlement negotiations after Hauraki also overlapped their claim.
Little says, "We've had expressions of concern from a number of iwi and in the end as the Crown we've got to act in good faith with everybody and we've got to follow the guidance by the tribunal".
Lawyer for the Hauraki Collective Paul Majurey was yet to respond to comment.