MEDIA RELEASE: 29 March 2019
Hapu members laid flowers opposite the peace memorial in Opotiki yesterday as the community gathered to honour the victims of the Christchurch terrorism attack of the previous day (15 March 2019). Karakia was followed by waiata and speeches of solidarity and condolence for those killed and their whanau.
“Our hearts go out to those who were taken by hate,” said Tracy Hillier at the event, “we share the pain of this tragedy – people in prayer should be safe in the sanctuary of their place of worship.”
The monthly Hapu Hui for March has been postponed from the first Sunday to the second Sunday due to unavoidable absences that would have occured. The new date:
10:30am, 10 March 2019
P. T. Selwyn, Tiamana
[This was advertised in the Opotiki News of 29/02/2019.]
Attention whanau, Upokorehe have declared a rahui on the Waiotahe river following a drowning. Please respect this swimming and fishing prohibition which ends 11 March 2019.
Hapu outlines next steps for NZ Government in Whakatohea situation
Ngai Tamahaua Hapu Chair Peter T Selwyn today announced next steps for the New Zealand Government in response to the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations’ statement of 22 February 2019 on the Whakatohea Treaty settlement situation.
Mr Selwyn says: “The Hapu have made it clear that dialogue with the New Zealand Government on decolonisation of our territory and reparations can only commence once concrete steps have been made by them to end their divisive mandate policy – in particular, the New Zealand Government must terminate mandate recognition of Whakatohea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust (WPSCT) and their negotiators and withdraw the WPSCT-negotiated Agreement in Principle signed in 2017.”
“I welcome the Minister’s recent realisation of the critical importance of Hapu in future Treaty negotiations,” says Mr Selwyn, “however the Hapu will not start negotiations on settling the historical Treaty violations of the Crown until after a Waitangi Tribunal comprehensive historical inquiry is complete.”
Ngai Tamahaua Hapu claimants Tracy F Hillier and Rita R Wordsworth have also rejected the Minister’s “parallel” scenario and have asked the Tribunal to begin an inquiry without delay. Ms Hillier says: “90% of Whakatohea claimants oppose the WPSCT. The Tribunal’s urgent inquiry into the mandate (Wai 2662 report) exposed the opportunism of the previous government in using a small group at the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board to hijack the mandate. These government paid individuals have failed to unite anyone other than themselves and Ministers must stop this circus.”
A Waitangi Tribunal-directed opinion poll of Whakatohea Hapu was held last year to indicate levels of support for an inquiry or the WPSCT continuing to negotiate. Ngai Tamahaua Hapu did not support participation in the poll and did not supply their register. All participating Hapu voted in favour of a Tribunal inquiry, while WPSCT negotiation only had the support of half the Hapu – the lowest level of support recorded in a live mandate situation.
Ms Hillier says: “The poll considerably under-represents the opposition to the government’s Pre-Settlement Trust. The poll lacked credibility for many reasons: using unauthorised voter rolls that could not be verified, the involvement of the government’s mandated Trust in the process and their overwhelming government funding, the refusal to admit Hapu scrutineers to the count and the result which was not certified. The Minister identifies the poll’s lack of independence when he praises the Trust’s ‘hard work they have done in facilitating the voting process’- a clear conflict of interest that brings the result into question.”
Following the direction of the Hapu Hui on Sunday (03/02/2019) Ngai Tamahaua Hapu Chair Peter T Selwyn has sent a letter to HM the Queen and her UK and NZ governments on the occasion of Waitangi Day 2019. The text of the Chair’s letter is as below:
HM The Queen
Buckingham Palace, LONDON.
HM United Kingdom Government
Rt Hon Prime Minister
Rt Hon Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary
Downing St, LONDON.
HE British High Commissioner
British High Commission, WELLINGTON.
HM New Zealand Government
HE Rt Hon Governor-General
Government House, WELLINGTON.
Rt Hon Prime Minister
Hon Minister for Maori-Crown Relations
Hon Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations
Hon Minister for Maori Development
Parliament Buildings, WELLINGTON.
5 February 2019
Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi 1840
Tena koe Queen Elizabeth II
Nga mihi o te tau hou – greetings to Your Majesty and the Right Honourable and Honourable Ministers of your respective Governments in this new year.
I address you all as Chair of Ngai Tamahaua Hapu in our sovereign capacity.
Ngai Tamahaua Hapu are tangata whenua (indigenous people) of the Opotiki country of Aotearoa (New Zealand). The Hapu of Whakatohea entered into sovereign relations with the Crown when our Hapu leadership signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty) on 27 May 1840 at Opotiki.
The Treaty guarantees to us Her Majesty’s royal protection and provides for the continued exercise of our own governance and imparts to our members the rights and privileges of British Subjects. These British guarantees to our Hapu have been imperfectly observed by Her Majesty’s Governments, especially from the time of Her Majesty’s Royal Navy and colonial military invasion of Opotiki in 1865 and subsequent confiscation of land and militarised occupation (the Raupatu).
The Raupatu and its maintenance by the New Zealand Government is a particularly nasty abrogation of the Treaty which the Hapu want to stop and – absent any international mechanism – one that the Hapu wishes to have inquired into by the Waitangi Tribunal of New Zealand (the Tribunal) and heard without delay. It is hoped that the inquiry report (on the 1840-1992 period) will then inform settlement negotiations.
A Tribunal-directed opinion poll of last year indicated an inquiry was unanimously supported by all Hapu of Whakatohea and the New Zealand Government’s mandated negotiation entity registered only uneven and marginal support. The New Zealand Government would be wise to take this opportunity to terminate the mandate recognition and support a Tribunal inquiry. Please find my letter of 8 January 2017 to the respective Governments on the matter of our Treaty policy remains applicable.
I note the New Zealand Justice Minister Hon. Andrew Little gave a speech at the United Nations Human Rights Council at Geneva on 21 January 2019 which employed ambiguous language around the Treaty status and recited a reliance of his Government on the discredited colonial tools of limitation out of step with the global consensus established by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Let me once again urge the respective Governments to dialogue with Hapu on issues of self-determination and transition. In that regard I thank the former High Commissioner, HE Jonathan Sinclair, for his kind words to us on the occasion of our 2017 Treaty anniversary and would very much appreciate any message from the present High Commissioner on the upcoming anniversary 27 May 2019.
I understand that a House of Commons motion to acknowledge the Treaty is customarily made on February 6th – the date it was first signed in 1840. The Hapu welcome such a motion.
Naku noa na
Peter T Selwyn
Ngai Tamahaua Hapu Chair
Nau mai haere mai!
Our first Hapu hui of the year is set down for Sunday, February 3rd at Opape Marae. Begins 10:30am. Agenda and minutes to be distributed to the email list prior. Please bring a plate.
Peter T Selwyn, Tiamana.