A Supreme Court case begins today where iwi Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei will put a case forward that tikanga and culture are being diminished by government decision-making. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei believes the Crown has ignored the role of hapū as mana whenua in central Auckland and that this should have been a consideration when they developed the Marutūahu Collective settlement deals.
The deal includes nine properties of prime real estate in Auckland of which Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei believe is situated within their rohe. The Auckland based iwi say the Crown has ignored their role as mana whenua to consent transfers including the recognition of their tikanga.
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Spokesperson Ngarimu Blair says "What we've seen rolled out by the Office of Treaty Settlements in the last 10 years is where weighed you just have to claim a historical interest and you get land and we say that that is wrong. That land in our heartland shouldn't be used to settle other people’s grievances."
Since Ngāti Whatua's settlement in 2012, the Auckland based iwi have had ongoing issues with neighbouring iwi and overlapping claims. Now they seek legal clarity of ongoing rights under their existing settlement.
Outside the Supreme Court Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta expressed her regret that iwi had to follow through the Courts in order to ensure the terms and conditions of Treaty Settlements were protected, however, agreed that overlapping claims were fraught with difficulties.
“One would hope that in trying to remedy the substantial part of a claim the overlapping interests are matters for iwi to resolve with their border iwi rather than having to go to court."
Despite the Supreme Court's outcomes, Ngāti Whātua say Labour’s Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little will proceed in the Government’s deal with Marutūahu. The results of which could have unsettling consequences for overlapping Treaty claims in the future.
Blair says "We're hoping the Treaty Minister speaks to his Labour Māori caucus. Doesn't seem he has because if he did I'm sure he wouldn’t be embarking on this reckless course of events where he's not even going to wait for the Supreme Court ruling."
Minister Mahuta says Minister Little was aware of the complexities of the case. “At the end of the day, he's got to apply his wisdom to the recommendations of the negotiators who come to him around the terms and conditions of settlements."
The Supreme Court will make their decision on Tuesday, May 15.