Hope for more transparency in Ngāpuhi Treaty negotiations

By Harata Brown
  • Northland

The Minister of Treaty Negotiations, Chris Finlayson attended two meetings in Auckland with various people who claim to be disenfranchised from Tūhoronuku, the body responsible for negotiating a Treaty deal for Ngāpuhi with the Crown.  

Te Kotahitanga o Ngā Hapū o Ngāpuhi, a body who claims to better represent the views of hapū claimants, put their case before Finlayson today.

Spokesperson if the group, Pita Tipene says, "We are happy because we have a positive message to bring back home”. 

They want to have a stronger say in the Ngāpuhi Treaty Settlement, but the Minister of Treaty Negotiations was staying tight-lipped about their meeting.

“If cracks appear in that mandate, then it is my duty to look in to those issues,” says Finlayson. 

For the first time Te Kotahitanga got a direct audience with the Minister. They are concerned hapū aren't represented well enough by Tūhoronuku.

"Hapū of Ngāpuhi want face-to-face discussions so they can be represented properly, because in the past they have had discussions with Tūhoronuku but somewhere their views have been lost," says Tipene.    

The second speaker was Mita Harris, a former Tuhoronuku representative. He resigned from Tūhoronuku and wanted to explain why he did so, face to face with the Minister in a separate meeting.

"I suppose to get the confidence of the Crown that we are still there. I am not a member of Tuhoronuku but the tables are still open to have a conversation. I don't have a lot of faith in our leadership at the moment that things are coming together but hopefully we can get something sorted by December," says Harris.  

A written response from Tūhoronuku's office outlined that their doors are always open to their people for discussions, and hoped to also meet with the Minister in the next few days.

The Crown is expected to meet with all parties in Waimate North, Northland on October 28.