Claimants say last week’s initialling of the Ngāti Rehua Deed of Settlement in Wellington was an act of deceit by the Crown and trustees of the Ngāti Rehua o Ngāti Wai ki Aotea Trust.
Spokeperson Aperahama Edwards says they were shocked when they saw pictures of Ngāti Rehua - Ngāti Wai ki Aotea Trustees celebrating their initialling of a Deed of Settlement on Facebook, "This is a hidden act of deceit done behind closed doors without any imput from beneficiaries. The Ngāti Rehua and Ngāti Wai ki Aotea Trust has refused to consult with their own elders or the respective claimants of Ngāti Rehua."
The Ngāti Rehua Agreement in Principle was signed with the Crown back in 2011 but had laid dormant for some time. In October 2015 the document was revisited and last Monday it was initialled by the Crown and trustees.
Te Nupere Ngawaka says, "Ngāti Rehua trustees are on a waka of their own at the moment instead of having hui amongst their hapū in Whananaki Matapouri Aotea and Auckland, they haven't done so."
Aperahama says, "We're not about to let this matter lie but we want it sorted and will achieve that by gathering all of Ngāti Rehua and standing in unison. At present there’s a lot of division amongst Ngāti Rehua and thats a result of these fraudulent actions."
While Minister Chris Findlayson is encouraging beneficiaries to have a voice by voting on whether to ratify the deed of settlement, those opposed to the settlement are considering their legal options to address a settlement they say gives them nothing.
Te Nupere Ngawaka says, "The most important thing is for us to hold our land and keep it, it belongs to us. Even though the Department of Conservation is looking after the land but at the end of the day when we get the land we have to gift it back to them again."
Aperahama says, "This is meant to be a time when we're at home waiting for Santa to come down the chimney. But instead the minister has sent a volley of bullets from Wellington. And hence the world for Ngāti Wai and Ngāti Rehua has turned upside down and this is not the time of the year for these actions by the crown."