In a milestone in settling iwi cross-claim interests, Ngāti Paoa and two Tauranga Moana iwi have signed a Tatau Pounamu Covenant. The move follows the claim interests to areas within Tauranga by Hauraki tribes.
The obsidian stone is a sign of the reaffirming of kinship ties between Ngāti Paoa, Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Ranginui.
“The most important thing is the connections between Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Ranginui to us of Ngāti Paoa,” said Ngāti Paoa Iwi Trust Chair, Gary Thompson.
“To properly fulfill the undertaking of our Covenant.”
The tribes have returned to the customs of their ancestors of face-to-face discussion to peacefully resolve their overlapping treaty claims.
“This is the beginning to peaceful resolution. It's easier to talk, we don't want to drag things out or get heated,” said Mita Ririnui (Ngāi Te Rangi).
“To continue discussions until we find a good result for everyone.”
Ngāti Ranginui spokesperson Te Pio Kawe said, “We also want overlapping claims and confiscation disputes resolved. Put those aside so we can resolve things amicably.”
Last year a deed of settlement was initialled giving 12 Hauraki tribes rights to interests within the neighbouring iwi boundary from Matakana in Te Tai Tokerau to Ngā-Kuri-ā-Whārei. Now there are 11 tribes.
“We still sit on the (Hauraki) Collective but we won't pursue any claims here in Tauranga,” said Thompson.
From today until our final Deed of Settlement with the crown is legislated our young people will take up the mantle for our generations to come.
Ngāti Pukenga were the only Tauranga tribe not to sign today's covenant due to an unresolved claim interest in Manaia.
“Today is magnificent for Ngāti Paoa to come, to be celebrated by the three tribes of Tauranga Moana, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāti Pukenga,” John Atirau Ohia (Ngāti Pukenga ki Tauranga).
The newly signed Covenant will be sent to the Minister of Treaty Negotiations Andrew Little for consideration before Christmas.