Hapu cancels circus advertised for marae

MEDIA RELEASE: 1 April 2019.
Hapu cancels circus advertised for their marae, invites Tribunal. 
Commenting on the shambolic attempt by a government-backed trust to hijack their marae over the weekend for an AGM, Ngai Tamahaua Hapu leaders have stated their opposition to divisive Treaty settlement tactics towards Whakatohea and denounced the mercenary practices of the group based at the Iwi’s Maori Trust Board they say have been paid millions to subvert the process.
“The Hapu and our Waitangi Tribunal claimants have been clear from the outset that the Whakatohea Pre-settlement Claims Trust (WPSCT) is just a small gang from the Maori Trust Board funded by a hostile government to undermine our sovereignty,” said Ngai Tamahaua Hapu Chair Peter T Selwyn, “the WPSCT is illegitimate and was never invited to our Marae and the booking was a result of their misinformation and they were informed it was cancelled two weeks ago.
“Whanau have told me they ensured the marae was not misused on Saturday morning (30/03/2019).  They said cancellation was actioned without difficulty in large part because so few people were interested in their agenda. The AGM diverted to Waiaua marae, evidently their plan B.
“The WPSCT must apologise for their cynical manipulation of venues.  WPSCT Facebook messages continued to wilfully mislead people and their supporters threatened force. We want to see the Waitangi Tribunal at our marae to hear us, not the WPSCT to run a circus up there claiming its a Hui-a-iwi.”
Mr Selwyn said: “I have since seen their AGM minutes and note they were paid almost $800,000 by the government last financial year and all for a 53% Brexit-level approval in the dodgy poll they were paid to facilitate last year using an unauthorised roll.  The minutes were only provided to those on the day and indicate last year’s AGM had a second hui held later that afternoon.  This is Mickey Mouse stuff.  How many more millions will Ministers throw at this show before it must end?”
Tracy F Hillier, one of the Hapu’s Waitangi Tribunal claimants (Wai 1781), endorsed the Hapu Chairs’ announcement last week that the marae could be a venue for a Tribunal sitting.  Ms Hillier said: “We look forward to working with the Tribunal to host a part of a Whakatohea historical inquiry at Opape Marae under the tikanga and rangatiratanga of Ngai Tamahaua. Only after a full historical inquiry is complete – with all the facts finally on the table – can we begin negotiating with the Crown on settling their raupatu (invasion) crimes.
“Sadly the Labour coalition government is blindly carrying on the policy of former National Minister Finlayson by the funding of hollow trusts like WPSCT to claim mandates and disrupt our tribal affairs,” said Ms Hillier.
Gangs in patches or in suits not welcome at Opape marae. 
The Hapu have endorsed Human Rights principles as being consistent with the ‘tikanga tangata’ of Opape marae which is guided and upheld by kaumatua and pakeke.
“Whanau who may be gang members will always be welcome at Opape Marae as uri of Tamahaua, our Hapu – as uri of Muriwai, our tipuna to whom our wharenui is dedicated.  Mana is enhanced when they leave their patches behind when entering the marae,” said Hapu member Kayreen Tapuke, “but what is not welcome on our marae is gang hui and gang kaupapa that implies our Hapu is part of their gang – whether their gang is patched up or in suits makes no difference if their behaviour or objectives are criminal and they seek to diminish or capture us. Those mafia outfits are not wanted here.”
Image: Tino Rangatiratanga haki flies above Opape marae, celebrating Hapu self determination and independence.
Image: Whanau in discussion during impromtu wananga.

Marae venue cancelled – WPSCT not wanted at Opape 

MEDIA RELEASE: 29 March 2019

Marae venue cancelled – Whakatohea Pre-settlement Claims Trust not wanted at Opape. 
“The government-backed trust’s advertised marae venue for their AGM remains cancelled despite attempted interference,” said Ngai Tamahaua Hapu Chair Peter T Selwyn.
Opape Marae Chairman Hetaraka Biddle said “no paperwork for the booking was provided and no motion was moved or resolved at our trustees hui held yesterday (28/03/2019) and so the cancellation was not reversed.”  It was unclear whether a booking had even been taken in writing. “The Hapu opposes the WPSCT and have not invited them to the marae. The Hapu hui has determined the marae cannot be used by them. That decides the matter – that is our tikanga,” said Mr Biddle.
Mr Biddle considered it was unhelpful to have trustees who have taken up paid roles in the WPSCT interfering in the process of bookings and claiming they are confirmed when they were not. “This has led to confusion and caused division,” Mr Biddle said.
“The 22 March 2019 joint statement of the Hapu and Marae Chairs cancelling the WPSCT booking stands.  It is unwise for that group to attempt to proceed with any hui at Opape Marae.  We have had no acknowledgement from the WPSCT of our communications. They are unprofessional in the extreme and disingenuous in their claim they want to engage with Hapu,” said Mr Selwyn, “the cynical abuse of our marae cannot be permitted and they should be ashamed of their tactics.”

Opotiki dunes subdivision a desecration

27 March 2019
Opotiki dunes subdivision a desecration say Tangata Whenua
An extension to the controversial “Waiotahe Drifts” subdivision located on sand dunes West of Opotiki is being opposed by local Tangata Whenua who have long demonstrated against the violation of this well known waahi tapu (sacred place).
The block borders a Conservation area of high ecological value and forms part of sensitive coastal dunes now rare in the Bay of Plenty.
“The recent publicity by the development company fails to mention the entire area is an ancient burial ground,” says Ngai Tamahaua spokesperson Tracy Hillier, “the subdivision came to a stop a decade ago following the discovery of koiwi (human bones) barely 20 metres from the edge of the proposed extension. Due to occupation action the koiwi were reinterred where they were uncovered.”
Ms Hillier said: “the planned residential development is a desecration of the environment and a violation of the waahi tapu.  The dubious loophole the original developers used should be closed for this new lot and the status of waahi tapu respected by the local authorities. The developers have not been in contact with us for some time.”
The archaelogical authority from Heritage New Zealand has been challenged by Hapu as has the involvement of the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board in the process.  “Heritage NZ appointed someone we have no confidence in without any consultation with Hapu and the continued inclusion of the Board is contrary to the ‘Te Tawharau o Nga Hapu o Whakatohea 1993’ master planning document which is operative,” Ms Hillier said.
Ngai Tamahaua Hapu and Upokorehe representatives met with Opotiki District Council yesterday (26/03/2019) to discuss their opposition and intend to have further hui.
“A faceless company pursuing profit and using an immoral loophole cannot just run bulldozers through our cemetery, sand dunes and wetlands without expecting a response of direct action,” said Ms Hillier.

Hapu to invite Waitangi Tribunal to marae

Media release 22/03/2019:  Hapu to invite Tribunal to marae – reject use by government-backed mandate trust. 
Ngai Tamahaua Hapu Chair, Peter T Selwyn, and Hetaraka Biddle, chairman of the Opape Marae trustees, have today announced their intention to formally invite the Waitangi Tribunal to hold part of the upcoming historical inquiry into the Whakatohea greviences at the Hapu’s marae in Opape, East of Opotiki.
Mr Selwyn said: “The Waitangi Tribunal are preparing for a full comprehensive historical inquiry into the Crown’s violations of the Treaty in Whakatohea territory in accordance with unanimous Hapu support in last year’s Tribunal-directed poll. The government cannot stop this now and the Hapu and claimants object to the continued government funding of the Whakatohea Pre-settlement Claims Trust designed to undermine an inquiry and keep the trust’s 2017 deal with [former Treaty Negotiations Minister] Finlayson on the table.  Ngai Tamahaua have expressed a desire to invite the Tribunal panel to our marae at Opape to hear our voices in our whare tipuna Muriwai.  We will now commence discussions with the Tribunal on how we can host part of this important reconciliation process.”
The Hapu leadership have also moved to clarify confusion over advertising from the government-backed trust which claims their AGM is to be held at the marae later this month.  Mr Biddle said: “the Hapu have been very consistent in opposition to this mandate trust and our tikanga is we listen to the Hapu. The Hapu were never asked, nor have the Hapu ever invited that trust to conduct their hui at our marae and the marae trustees never met to consider any such booking.  The booking was recorded as a Whakatohea Maori Trust Board event and that was misleading.  The booking has been cancelled.”

Message of aroha in wake of terrorism

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.”

Hapu Hui for March

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:

Opape Marae

10:30am, 10 March 2019

P. T. Selwyn, Tiamana

[This was advertised in the Opotiki News of 29/02/2019.]

Rahui at Waiotahe

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 tells NZ Government “next steps”



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.”



Hapu Chair sends Waitangi Day greetings to Queen

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


Hui mo ia marama 03/02/2019

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.