The Waitangi Tribunal has recommended the Crown delay its negotiations with the Tūhoronuku Independent Mandate Authority (the Tūhoronuku IMA) and allow Ngāpuhi time and space to address the flaws the Tribunal has identified in its Ngāpuhi Mandate Inquiry Report.
The report released today found the Crown breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi in recognising the mandate of the Tūhoronuku IMA to enter settlement negotiations on behalf of all Ngāpuhi.
According to the Tribunal, the Crown failed to uphold an obligation to protect the ability of hapū to exercise their rangatiratanga in deciding how and by whom they would be represented in settlement negotiations.
The Tribunal also identified the structure and processes of the Tūhoronuku IMA denies hapū any effective means of withdrawing from it or exerting control over how it represents them.
While the Tribunal did not recommend the mandating process be re-run, it did recommend that Ngāpuhi hapū be given the opportunity to confirm whether they wish to be represented in settlement negotiations by the Tūhoronuku IMA.
The claims were submitted primarily by Ngāpuhi hapū and hapū collectives and were heard under urgency in Waitangi in December 2014 and Wellington in March 2015.
The Tribunal says while it supports Ngāpuhi taking a united approach to settlement negotiations it must be a matter of choice for Ngāpuhi hapū