Hapu to confer with council on river gravel – Chair condemns rogue tactics

17 June 2019
Hapu to confer with council on river gravel – Chair condemns rogue tactics
“We are concerned and dismayed by the allegations that sabotage of contractors’ equipment may have occurred in connection with the gravel question in the Opotiki twin rivers” said Ngai Tamahaua Hapu Chair Peter T Selwyn today responding to yesterday’s Sunday Star-Times front page article on Opotiki river gravel royalties and allegations of threats being investigated by NZ Police.
Mr Selwyn said: “Our Hapu have Mana whenua in the area concerned and exercise kaitiakitanga over the Otara river (Te Awa O Tarawa) – in conjunction with other Hapu – and our collective interests are jeopardised by allegations of rogue standovers on the Waioweka river (Te Awa o Tamatea) that threaten gravel operations and other activities on the Otara. We are seeking more information from police and council. We alerted authorities earlier this year to a problem, but we took preventive legal action to suppress that possibility on the Otara.
“We have actually opposed and limited consent allocations and commercial takes of river shingle generally from the Otara because there was no legitimate environmental or safety reason for the removal and the data was questionable.  Potential royalty payments have been foregone by the Hapu to protect the integrity of the river – revenue has not been the prevailing factor for Ngai Tamahaua.”
Hapu relations with Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC) are in a sensitive phase leading up to a planned conference together over the future management of the rivers and the controversial new gravel consent the Council is seeking.
The BOPRC resource consents for gravel extraction in the two rivers expired in April and their bid for a fresh consent for 15 years on the same basis as before is stalled with Hapu opposition lodged and a challenge to the submission process.
“We don’t want these alleged rogue standover tactics of individuals in one valley to distract from our constructive engagement and progress we have made over the last two years with council,” said Mr Selwyn, “we want to keep council to their stated policies and encourage them to lift their consultation practice and compliance response.”

Hapu Hui for June cancelled for graduation – next Hui is July 7th

Aroha mai whanau, the June Hapu hui postponement due to Queen’s Birthday is now a cancellation as we have a Mahi Tahi graduation ceremony at the marae for this Sunday (9th) which cannot be re-scheduled.  We wish the graduates well in their future endeavours – mauri ora!

The next Hapu Hui is Sunday 7th July 10:30am at Opape Marae.

P.T. Selwyn, Tiamana.

UK voices “step-change” in Maori relationships



28 May 2019


UK voices “step-change” in Maori relationships


The Union Jack was raised in Opotiki yesterday alongside the flag of the United Tribes in commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in the Eastern Bay of Plenty settlement 179 years ago.  An address for the occasion from the British High Commissioner was read out, Her Excellency Laura Clarke signalling a “step-change in our relationships with Maori,” remarking: “A UK-New Zealand bilateral relationship requires purpose-driven, respectful and honest partnership with te iwi Māori.”


The signing took place 27 and 28 May 1840 with seven chiefs of the Whakatohea tribe putting their marks on the Maori language version.  The annual commemoration was completed today when the Ngai Tamahaua Hapu – organisers of the events – raised the “Tino Rangatiratanga” flag at their marae at Opape.


“Hapu rangatira – Tauatoro, TuTakahiAo, Rangihaerepo, Whakiia, AkeAke, Rangimatanuku and Aporotanga – entered into a covenant between Nga Hapu and Queen Victoria as the sovereign of the British nation before God to recognise and protect their rights and interests of their Tino Rangatiratanga Mana Motuhake as independent sovereign people,” said Ngai Tamahaua Hapu spokesperson Tracy Hillier, “I am encouraged by the High Commissioner’s comments and her willingness to engage with Hapu.”


Ms Hillier recalled the significance for the Hapu: “Queen Victoria features inside our wharenui Muriwai.  We remember our Kaumatua, Matenga Biddle, who for many years would gather us at Opape to remember Te Tiriti, and this day was significant as it was also his birthday. We have seen the passing of Pauline Biddle who kept this day special.  Moe mai ra e te tuahine, Pauline. Kia au te moe. Kia tau hoki te rangimarie ki runga i tena me tena o matou me te whenua mana motuhake o te rohe o Ngai Tamahaua; hurinoa i te rohe o Mataatua whanui. Ko te ringa hiko o Muriwai Tapairu. Hoea hoea, hoea te waka o Mata Atua. Mauriora.”


“Te Tiriti was an agreement with mana and commitment to enable new peoples to come to this nation of ours,” said Ms Hillier, “however trust was broken when the colonial government instigated the invasion and military occupation of our territory in 1865, but we have survived their failed policy of suppression and now struggle with the challenge of settling the Crown violations.


“The time is now for the Treaty Negotiations Minister to recognise Hapu leadership and end his government’s present charade of recognising the ‘mandate’ of the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board-led pre-settlement trust,” said Ms Hillier.


The organisers wish to thank the Opotiki RSA for the use of their flagpoles and the Opotiki District Council for their relocation for this occasion.




Address from Her Excellency the British High Commissioner:


Tēnā koutou katoa


It is of great poignancy to recognise these significant days in the history of ngā uri o Ngai Tamahaua. On May 27 and 28 1840, hapū leaders of Te Whakatōhea signed the Tiriti o Waitangi here in Ōpōtiki. Today, as you gather as descendants and whānau whānui of these signatories to commemorate this historical event, it is incumbent on me to reflect upon our shared history.


Te Tīriti o Waitangi remains of critical importance to the relationship between Māori and the Crown, both historically and politically. It is important today in righting the wrongs of the past through the Waitangi Settlement process, and in looking to the future.   There is much to be done to and much to be learned, and I believe that the future of a bicultural Aotearoa is a bright one.


As the British High Commissioner to New Zealand, I am committed to doing all I can to initiate a step-change in our relationships with Māori. A UK-New Zealand bilateral relationship requires purpose-driven, respectful and honest partnership with te iwi Māori, to ensure that our shared future is one of prosperity for all.


Today I commemorate with you, I honour you and your tūpuna, and I send my very best wishes, indeed.


Nōreira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.  


Laura Clarke

British High Commissioner | Te Māngai Kāwanatanga o Peretania

Governor, Pitcairn Islands


British High Commission, Wellington.

Hapu Hui for June

Nau mai haere mai whanau.

Hapu hui at Muriwai, Opape Marae: 10:30am Sunday, 9th June 2019.

Peter T Selwyn, Tiamana.

Please bring a plate for shared kai following.

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.”