Iwi to fight settlement plan

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Ngai Te Rangi plans to fight a Deed of Settlement agreement which it says will allow Hauraki iwi rights to Tauranga Harbour. PHOTO/FILE

Ngai Te Rangi plans to fight a Deed of Settlement agreement which it says will allow Hauraki iwi rights to Tauranga Harbour.

In a statement issued yesterday the iwi described the Government initialling a Deed of Settlement with a Hauraki iwi collective this week as "a secret deal" and a "step too far" for Tauranga iwi and hapu, who would be disadvantaged by it.

However, Minister of Treaty Settlements Chris Finlayson last night responded that there was no secret deal.

"We've just initialled the Deed Settlement with the Hauraki Collective. There has been ongoing discussions between the Tauranga Iwi and the Hauraki Iwi about the nature of the extent of Hauraki's historical interests in Tauranga Moana. They took us to the tribunal over it, so there is nothing finalised in so far as the Moana is concerned.

"It will be the subject of ongoing negotiations between all iwi over the next 12 months.

"I can't understand the need for Ngai Te Rangi and the others to respond in this sort of volcanic way, there is plenty of time for discussion."

The nature of the extent of Hauraki representation on any Tauranga Moana body was an issue yet to be determined, he said.

Ngai Te Rangi iwi kaumatua, Hauata Palmer, said the deal had enraged and galvanised opposition making the coming year about co-ordinating resources to fight the Government. Ngai Te Rangi had received immediate contact and support from other iwi who find themselves in a similar position of having to fight to roll back this deal and ensure their tikanga is protected.

"We are putting Bill English on notice. This is no way for the Crown to be engaging with iwi.

Auckland, Waikato, through the Bay of Plenty and beyond, iwi and hapu were meeting, organising and preparing to "defeat this insulting behaviour," Mr Palmer said, adding the current approach to overlapping claims is a fundamental breach of tikanga.

Ngai Te Rangi iwi chief executive Paora Stanley said the Crown has made it abundantly clear that it considers the trampling of Ngai Te Rangi tikanga to be acceptable.

"That is an aggressive stance by the Minister and we will meet it with aggression, perseverance, and collective action. The next two years will be remembered as a time when the landscape of Treaty settlements changed."

Ngai Te Rangi is also supporting Ngati Whatua Orakei and its High Court action against the Crown, where the Auckland-based hapu is arguing tikanga is part of common law and must be considered during Settlement negotiations.

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