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.