Electionz.com has found that the Ngāti Rehua beneficiary database has been compromised as was the election for the ratification of the Ngāti Rehua Deed of Settlement.
It's a key finding in a report commissioned by the High Court after beneficiaries filed an injunction earlier this year in a last-ditch attempt to halt the process being followed by their own board to complete the settlement.
The investigation by an electoral officer has found that long-held concerns from beneficiaries over their trust board's database are justified.
Claimant Huhana Lyndon says, "A key finding of the report for claimants is that our hapū database is compromised which means the Ngāti Rehua-Ngāti Wai ki Aotea beneficiary database is flawed."
Aperahama Edwards says contention arose just days before Christmas when beneficiaries were shocked to hear that the Treaty Negotiations Minister had initialled the Ngāti Rehua Deed of Settlement.
He says, "We see this as a result of pressure by the Minister and his office to quickly settle the treaty claims of our people. The board has subsequently turned its back on its own people and is now found to have been working covertly."
Huhana says, "My own family registered before Christmas and voted accordingly at the meetings to ratify the settlement but have subsequently found that we're not on the register."
In March, Ngāti Rehua beneficiaries took their own board to the High Court in a last-ditch effort to halt the settlement process by injunction. The subsequent report by electionz.com was commissioned by the High Court.
Aperahama says, "The crux of the problem stems from the Minister and the Office of Treaty Settlements dangling juicy carrots in front of this group of people causing them to stray from the aspirations of their own people."
Huhana Lyndon says, "Now there is proof that what the board has been doing isn't right, we desperately need an annual general meeting to enable our people to replace them with new trustees on the board in the days to come.
Te Kāea is still awaiting comment from the Ngāti Rehua-Ngāti Wai ki Aotea Trust Board on this matter.