Ngāpuhi hapū (sub-tribes) reaffirmed their support for the findings of the Maranga Mai report as the way forward to settle the tribe's treaty claim at Parawhenua Marae today.
Sam Napia quoted to the minister a statement made by his people, the Te Whiu hapu, seven years ago, "If the Crown and Tuhoronuku give heed to the hapu rangatiratanga factor then we may predict success."
Moana Tuwhare of Te Popoto hapu in Hokianga told the minister, "We seek a principled approach to this process and we want the tikanga that we hold dear to us, that have been passed down from our tupuna, to be the guiding light."
Te Rau Arena of Ngati Hine said, "Minister Little, Andrew...I'm ready, my hapu is ready. We're ready to step out in faith into the deep and [believe] that Maranga Mai will provide the buoyancy for new opportunities, prosperity and stability for Ngapuhi into the future."
Appointed as the researcher for the Taumata Kaumatua o Ngāpuhi following its formation in 1992, historian Dr Judith Ward read a submission to the minister on behalf of Ngāpuhi elder Kingi Taurua who was present but not well.
"To ask you to address first and foremost the old land claims. We believe that by doing it this way there is a consistency between the finding at stage one- that the chiefs did not cede sovereignty at Waitangi on the 6th of February 1840- and the fact that we hold the native title to the land, which has not been extinguished."
Dr Ward requested the tribunal to address the vast tracts of lands situated at the mission stations at Purerua, Kerikeri, Paihia, Waitangi, Puketona, Pakaraka and Waimate North, which had arrangements made prior to the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi- receiving a rousing round of applause.
Minister Andrew Little replied, "The Crown has an obligation to recognise a mandate that properly respects and reflects hapū and hapū rangatiratanga."
Perhaps Sam Napia, spokesperson for the Te Whiu hapū put it most candidly to the minister, "What we require from you please is the withdrawal of Crown recognition of the Tūhoronuku mandate, the transition of the mandate and its evolution into the hands of Maranga Mai!"
The hapū consultations signal the start of an effort by the minister to hear from the respective hapū of Ngāpuhi.