Topics: Iwi Settlements, Waitangi

Ngāti Awa disputes Waitangi Tribunal claim WAI 2521

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Ngāti Awa are disputing a Waitangi Tribunal Claim which they say disregards their connections to Mōtītī Island in the Bay of Plenty. 

The hearings for WAI 2521 are taking place this week at Mātaatua Wharenui in Whakatāne.

Pouroto Ngaropo opened the evidence presentations on behalf o Te Patuwai, Ngāti Awa.

He is part of a large team, which includes Meremaihi Williams, giving evidence concerning a claim by those living on Mōtītī Island.

“What they are saying to us, their relations, is that "you are not from this island, you are from here, you are not Patuwai.   You are from here, Patuwai from outside.” 

WAI 2521 was lodged by Ngā Hapū o Te Moutere o Mōtītī last year, the claimants who live permanently on the Island and who want the right to negotiate a settlement with the Crown.

However Te Patuwai, sub-tribe of Ngāti Awa, also has mana to Mōtītī yet have already settled with the Crown under Ngāti Awa in 2005.

Umuhuri Matehaere of Ngā Hapū o Te Moutere o Mōtītī says the claim itself is aimed at the Crown.

“In this claim we don't intent to go to war with Ngāti Awa, Te Patuwai but the intention is to fight the Crown.” 

In the view of Te Patuwai of Ngāti Awa, the WAI 2521 claim contradicts their hold on the Island.

“What about my grandchild, if they are not from the Island or from Te Patuwai?  Yes, I am hurt and angry that it has come to this.” 

This week's evidence from Ngāti Awa will be weighed up against that given by the island hapū group.

The hearings end on Friday.