Te Whakatōhea’s $100mil Treaty settlement with the Crown could be delayed for up to a decade.
An iwi-wide vote is due to get underway and one option is to abandon the current settlement process and seek a full Waitangi Tribunal inquiry which could take ten years or more.
And now, in a new complication, there is a High Court application to halt the vote, which if successful could leave the iwi unclear on how to proceed.
“I want to see Te Whakatōhea united, which is only a dream,” says Robert Edwards, chairman of the Opōtiki Māori Trust Board, “What we’re doing now is actually trying to lay a firm foundation for them to move forward.”
It’s been a rough year for the Eastern Bay of Plenty iwi, with $145mil plans to redevelop the harbour at Opōtiki bering turned down for government funding.
“I would like everybody to be accountable,” says Edwards, “This is your future that you’re voting on. Vote with your heart, vote with your wairua, so the future is all in your hands.”