Te Tiriti o Waitangi ki Opotiki commemoration 2019

Ngai Tamahaua Hapu invite the people to a commemoration of Te Tiriti o Waitangi  Treaty of Waitangi – signed by Hapu leaders of Te Whakatohea at Opotiki 27 and 28 May 1840.

Nau mai haere mai!

  • Flag raising and reading: at the flagstaffs corner Elliot and Church St, at midday Monday 27 May.
  • Flag raising: at Opape Marae, at midday Tuesday 28 May.

Descendants of the original signatories will be asked to participate in the reading.

Thanks to the Opotiki RSA for use of their flag poles and ODC for their relocation.

Hapu leader rejects ‘sanitised’ agenda for UN chief’s visit

MEDIA RELEASE: 14 May 2019. 

A tribal leader of Te Whakatohea, an Eastern Bay of Plenty Iwi in a prolonged dispute with the New Zealand government over Treaty recognition and settlement negotiations, has today criticised the handling of the United Nations Secretary-General’s visit to Aotearoa which is due to finish this afternoon.

Ngai Tamahaua Hapu Chair, Peter T Selwyn, said: “Wellington is in violation of Te Tiriti o Waitangi Treaty of Waitangi 1840 and to exclude the matter of decolonisation from the agenda and not to consult or invite indigenous leaders to meet Mr Guterres is discourteous and provocative.”

Mr Selwyn was reacting to the arrival on 12 May 2019 of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Aotearoa: “The visit was publicly announced by the NZ government with less than a week’s notice on 6 May 2019 and engagements were evidently arranged without input of tribal authorities beyond an event hosted by Ngai Tahu in Christchurch before he flies out. This is a sanitised tour conducted by the occupying power from which Mr Guterres will gain no understanding of the colonial situation that exists in our territory.”

Mr Selwyn said: “Mr Guterres’s message of peace, co-operation and global climate change awareness is an important one, however the indigenous peoples’ message of self-determination is an important one that Mr Gutteres must be made aware of when he is in Aotearoa. He ought to have been advised to decline any visit to Aotearoa that did not include a discussion with tribal leaders on the matter of the Treaty and our relations with the Crown.

“A visit by Mr Gutteres that does not include an audience with Hapu leaders on the problem of colonial predation and Treaty settlement negotiations appears to be a high-handed collusion of both the United Nations and the Wellington government to omit the authentic voices of the nation. Given the critical reports from two previous UN Special Rapporteurs on New Zealand’s indigenous rights record it is disappointing – and to their shame – that our plight has been over-looked.”

“I have today sent a letter to the Secretary-General informing him of the Hapu position and the situation in Aotearoa,” said Mr Selwyn, “and I have stated to him that our Hapu will advocate for the Question of New Zealand to be resolved with the assistance of international intervention should the regime in Wellington persist with a policy of intransigence. At present they remain incapable of conducting or concluding a credible settlement of Crown claims in our territory and reparations for their military invasion of 1865 and occupation. The United Kingdom is our Treaty counterpart and the British Queen our protector no matter what attitude prevails in Wellington. The absence of a security crisis necessitating the engagement of the higher organs of the UN in this question is entirely due to the supreme restraint shown by the Hapu towards aggression and Treaty violations of the NZ government”.

Hapu hui for May

Nau mai haere mai whanau. 

Hapu hui at Muriwai, Opape Marae:

10:30am Sunday, 5th May 2019.

Peter T Selwyn, Tiamana.

 Please bring a plate for shared kai following.

Hapu Hui for April

Nau mai haere mai Ngai Tamahaua whanau!

Hapu Hui:

10:30am Sunday 7 April 2019.

Opape Marae.

Peter T Selwyn, Tiamana.

[Please bring a plate for shared kai.]

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.]