Treaty Negotiations Update – April 2019

Tēnā koutou e ngā uri o Maruwharanui. He mihi nui kia koutou mā,

It’s fair to say that even though we have extremely busy with negotiations, progressing our claim has been slow. In my opinion, this has been mainly due to the Crown’s reluctance to agree on our perspective over a number of issues. This has resulted in our negotiations being drawn out and I will explain more about it in this report.

MARU MUA – Ko te aro ki ngā kōrero taketake o Ngāti Maru. He whakatau i ngā mahi o nehe kia marire te noho. Understanding and learning from our history and our experience.

We are currently in the process of developing our Historical Account. This account is a jointly written document that details Ngāti Maru’s history and captures the impact of the Crown’s actions on Ngāti Maru. We have already produced a draft that is being reviewed by the Crown historians, no doubt they are writing their version of some of the events of the past.

MARU MURI – Ko te whakapikitanga o te ōhanga o Ngāti Maru. Strengthening Maru’s future prosperity.

We’ve been working with the Crown negotiators to finalize the commercial redress properties that we want from the claim. These include schools and government-owned properties which we will purchase and then lease back to the Crown. This arrangement is referred to as sale and lease-back, it provides an income stream for the iwi. In effect, we become a landlord and the Crown is our tenant. The lease-back rate is generally higher than the rate we would get if we invested our money with a bank or other financial institution so it is a good option for us.

We are also looking into some of these being included as deferred selection properties. This gives us several years to decide if we want to purchase them or not. That way we don’t need to make any hasty decisions, we can fully investigate the potential value of them and ascertain if they fit into the commercial aspirations of the iwi.

Another aspect that we are negotiating is an arrangement that will give us the right of first refusal to purchase surplus properties within our rohe if the Crown decides to sell them some time in the future.

We will be giving a full presentation on all of these properties outlining the location, size and potential value to the settlement package during our next wānanga at 10.00am Saturday morning the 18th of May at Tarata.

MARU PAE – Kia tau te tāmoremore nui nō Papa nō Rangi. Connection to place, our whenua, awa, marae, ngā waahi tapu.

I have previously outlined nature of the discussions over Te Wera Forest and the claims being made by other claimant groups . The area where Te Wera Forest is located was originally known by us as Mangaterangi, it was later included in the Pohokura Block in which the original owners were from Ngāti Maru. During the discussions with the other parties we have demonstrated Ngāti Maru’s cultural and historical interests in this area from pre-european times until today.

We have recently held several hui with the other iwi groups claiming interests in the forest. Neither Ngāti Hāua or Uenuku Charitable Trust are letting go of their attempts to take part of Te Wera in their claims. Many of you will be shocked to learn that any other group, wether its an iwi, hapu or trust has any claim to Te Wera, as we have always known that it is well and truly Ngāti Maru. Its on that basis that we will keep fighting for it.

The situation has been further complicated by beneficiaries of one of these groups applying to the Waitangi Tribunal for a resumptive inquiry for Te Wera. This has the potential to  hold our claim up considerably. If the application proceeds we will make submissions to the tribunal on behalf of Ngāti Maru.

Unfortunately, the process the Crown has created to resolve matters of overlapping interest only serves to pit the claimant groups against each other. Therefore, I can only see this dragging on for a while yet. I will keep you up to date with any developments. One positive thing that has come out of this has been the large amount of historical research that we have compiled as we strive to prove our rights in the forest.

In January this year Rumatiki and I met with the managers of PF Olsen who manage Te Wera Forest and staff from Stokes Logging who were just starting work at Te Wera. Rumatiki carried out karakia and whakatau to bring the new workers into Ngāti Maru country for the first time. This is another example of us carrying out our role as Mana Whenua here.

We are also in ongoing discussions with the Crown over DOC properties that we are requesting as part of our Cultural Redress properties. As discussed earlier the Crown, specifically DOC, has decided to take a hard line on all DOC properties in relation to Treaty Settlements. Unfortunately, this has drawn out our negotiations and slowed our progress. We will provide a full update and explanation on these sites on Saturday morning at the next Wānanga.

MARU TAHA – He whakapumau i ngā hononga. He tuitui i te whanaungatanga. He taketake Rongo. Strengthening relationships and building connections.

We continue to work through a range of relationship agreements with other iwi, government departments and councils with the hope that we can establish enduring relationships that will serve us well into the future.

The Crown has sent letters of introduction to the various territorial authorities notifying them of our progress through this claims process and inviting them to engage with us as mana whenua within our rohe. The councils are; New Plymouth District, South Taranaki District, Stratford District, Ruapehu District, Whanganui District, Horizons and Taranaki Regional Council.

Te Awa Tupua: Ngāti Maru now has representation on Te Kōpuka Strategy Group. The role of Te Kōpuka is to produce a collective Te Awa Tupua Strategy for the health and well-being of Te Awa Tupua in line with Tupua Te Kawa, the innate values of Te Awa Tupua.

As we are also an iwi of Te Awa Tupua it is important that we take up our responsibilities to support the health of the Awa. I understand members of Ngāti Maru were on the Tira Hoe Waka this year and that there are already plans to organise a contingent to attend again next year.

The year has started busily, we are still working toward initialling the Deed of Settlement by the middle of this year. However, due to the issues outlined earlier in this report we are now looking toward the last quarter of the year to achieve that milestone. Even though this slows us up, it is important to get it right and not rush for settlement and leave matters unresolved.

On behalf of our negotiations team, I would like to thank you for the support we continue to receive. It is much appreciated.

Ngā mihi nui ki a tātou katoa.

Anaru Marshall | Lead Negotiator

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