Ngāpuhi has criticised the reaction from the Minister of Treaty Affairs who has dismissed the Waitangi Tribunal report on the Paparahi o Te Raki claim.
According to the report released on Friday, Ngāpuhi never ceded sovereignty to the Crown, but the Minister says the finding doesn't change anything for the Government.
The finding of the report are very pleasing to Ngāpuhi claimants but the Minister of Treaty Affairs was quick to react, saying the Crown holds sovereignty over New Zealand.
“There is no debate as at today who holds sovereignty over New Zealand and what I was wanting to emphasise were the issues that I've come across over the years in the context of the Te Hiku negotiation that also apply with equal force to Ngāpuhi that we've got the opportunity to do some really good work up there.” Finlayson explains.
Tai Tokerau MP Kelvn Davis was also taken aback by the minister's remarks, saying that the report didn't change a thing.
“I'm concerned at how quick the Minister was to dismiss the Tribunal's findings and I know he reacted that way to allay the concerns of rednecks,” says Davis.
No doubt the report will only increase anticipation of the urgent hearing called by the Tribunal next month to look into the process followed by the Crown to mandate the group known as Tūhoronuku to settle all Ngāpuhi claims with the tribunal satisfied it has enough evidence that the said process has created irreversible prejudice against claimant hapū.
Finlayson says, “This is a democracy and there are some strongly held historical views in the north and I respect that but as I said to you what I'm really focused on is the provision to Ngāpuhi of a just and durable settlement and I don't believe that is going to be an impossible task if as I’ve said all along people work together.”