Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa are backing King Tuheitia’s pledge to help them get their claims settled quickly. The Northland iwi was one of five whose treaty settlements were delayed after NZ First pulled its support from the passing of the Taranaki and Te Atiawa bills last month.
In a letter, King Tuheitia said he will do what he can to help. Iwi negotiator Ella Henry says the Kingitanga was created to protect the political interests of Māori so his pledge is perfectly appropriate.
“I think it’s fantastic because the Kingitanga was founded to maintain our tino rangatiratanga in the 1800s so I’ve always thought of it as political,” Henry said.
In an interview with Te Kaea in August Kingitanga spokesperson, Rahui Papa says the late Te Arikinui Te Atairangi Kaahu never got involved with politics but it seems the days of the Kingitanga being apolitical have come to an end.
“Times have changed. Everything is seen and heard through the media and Facebook. So if the King keeps his thoughts to himself, how do we know what he’s really thinking,” Papa said.
Henry says, "I'm personally in favour of it becoming more political but I'm not 100 percent sure that the more conservative amongst the Kingitanga would agree with that perspective."
The Office of Treaty Settlements said the third and final readings of the bills was delayed due to a technical matter raised by NZ First. Party leader Winston Peters said the bills can go through on time but it required members to be in Parliament, not on holiday.
The Government and the Māori Party said NZ First’s move ruined the travel arrangements of 400 people who wanted to attend parliament to see the bills passed.