Tauranga Moana descended upon Parliament today putting forward their calls to the Government to halt their Treaty Settlement deal with the Hauraki Collective until a tikanga-based process has been followed. Protests follow after overlapping claims made by the Hauraki Collective seeking interest within Tauranga.
More than 300 Tauranga Moana protesters gathered in full force to Parliament footsteps with a clear message, that the Government would have a war on their hands if the deal was to go ahead.
In his address to Labour’s Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little and Labour’s Māori Caucus, Ngāi Te Rangi kaumātua Bobby Rolleston made it clear, “You sign this, you take us into war. We will fight."
The protest follows overlapping claims made by the Hauraki Collective seeking rights to plots of land in Tauranga. Despite reports by the Waitangi Tribunal in 2004 supporting Hauraki’s claims, Tauranga contest.
Rolleston says, “I disagree with their claims: ‘Matakana to Matakana’. It’s not a traditional Māori connection, that is a Pākehā saying. They are following an old belief by Pākehā.”
Treaty Negotiations Minister was confronted by iwi to halt Government’s proceedings until a hui had been established between the two iwi. A call supported by Labour's Māori Caucus.
Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta addressed protesters.
"What can I do as the MP for Hauraki Waikato? Heck, if it took calling a hui in Ngāti Haua - nice neutral ground so that we can have that hui, let's have that hui!"
Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey says that Minister Little had a big decision to make. He says, "I think that having a very live active demonstration by the iwi here today will help him make that decision. But we as a Māori caucus also need to have a conversation with him."
Hauraki Representative Paul Majurey provided a statement to Te Kāea in the form of a letter presented to the Māori Affairs select committee.
“We agree with Minister Little that the tikanga process commence within three months of signing our collective deed.”
“We are troubled by the divisions that have come between us, and want to resolve those through the tikanga process the Minister proposes to commence. Pare Hauraki is committed to achieving an outcome together with Tauranga Moana.”
However Ngāi Te Rangi Kaumātua Hauata Palmer says "This is only the beginning, this is only the beginning of the wroth of Tauranga Moana. This is only the beginning of the wroth of Māoridom.”
“If [Minister Little] went ahead with that signing and you heard the people say that that tikanga process should take place but it should take place before the signing, not after."
Tauranga Moana are awaiting a decision by Minister Little on the deal. However the May 18 deadline for Tauranga Moana to contest Hauraki settlement remains.