Hapu reject flawed Waitangi Tribunal voting process

The Hapu continue to oppose the Treaty of Waitangi settlement mandate conferred by the NZ government on the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board associated entity, WPSCT.   The mandate is subject to a Waitangi Tribunal directed voting process which is also opposed.

The Tribunal has already found in its report that the WPSCT lacks legitimacy. The voting issue is subject to judicial review proceedings to which the Hapu is party. The WMTB is subject to a ministerial inquiry in regard to the disputed 2017 elections and issues of malgovernance.  Given the situation the Hapu Chair and claimants have today sent the following letter on behalf of the Hapu to the Ministers responsible:

Peter T Selwyn, Ngai Tamahaua Hapu Chair
Tracy F Hillier and Rita R Wordsworth, Wai 1781 claimants
tracyhillier@ngaitai.iwi.nz, rita.wordsworth@yahoo.com
Opape Marae

Minister for Crown/Maori Relations
Minister for Maori Development
Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Settlement Negotiations
Parliament Buildings

by email: k.davis@ministers.govt.nz, n.mahuta@ministers.govt.nz, a.little@ministers.govt.nz

21 September 2018

Urgent matter: Ngai Tamahaua Hapu opposition to Whakatohea/WPSCT mandate and Wai 2662 voting recommendations

Tena koe Hon. Kelvin Davis, Hon. Nanaia Mahuta, Hon. Andrew Little

Ngai Tamahaua Hapu oppose the voting process recommended by the Waitangi Tribunal in the matter of Wai 2662. The proposed questions, voting process and the arrangements made to date have no credibility and none of it has been consented to by the Hapu.

The Hapu have long demanded the Tribunal grant us a full district inquiry into the historic breaches of Te Tiriti by the Crown and that is what we view is required to be given to us as of right pursuant to the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975. The Hapu have stated that negotiation with your government on a comprehensive Treaty settlement can only occur after completion of this inquiry. In refusing to grant this inquiry and in supporting a voting process to which we are opposed it is demonstrable that the terms of Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840 are being violated by your government. We observe the Tribunal appears to be pushing ahead with this voting process despite all of the insurmountable problems it continues to encounter and the matter is now urgent and your action is required to avert further prejudice to the Hapu and further damage to relations. Ministers must know that the Hapu consider the voting process to be an attack on the mana motuhake and rangatiratanga of the Hapu and constitutes a serious defiance of Hapu tikanga.

Ministers are advised to instruct their respective departments to stop all further action in support of the Wai 2662 voting process.

As you must be aware the Tribunal’s voting recommendation is subject to a judicial review in which the Ngai Tamahaua claimants on behalf of the Hapu are an intervener party. We are also yet to receive any information from the Minister of Maori Development in respect to the final report from Mr Heron QC who has inquired into the misconduct of the 2017 elections and the malgovernance of the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board. As you must be aware the WMTB voting roll is proposed to be used as the primary basis for this vote. The Hapu have our own roll which will not be supplied or permitted to be used for that voting process.

The Hapu must reiterate that the WMTB has no right and no permission to use the Ngai Tamahaua Hapu section of the roll for this proposed voting process and the Hapu reserves the right to take the measures that may be necessary to ensure this does not occur. The Hapu has exceeded the withdrawal petition threshhold set in the mandate documents recognised by your government and this must be satisfactory evidence of your own standard that the Hapu must be recognised as having no part in this framework.

In these circumstances it would be most improper for Ministers to continue to allow the WPSCT (a WMTB-associated un-registered trust with a lack of legitimacy according to the Tribunal) to be funded or given any form of government support or to organise any voting process. If the unwillingness of Ministers to terminate mandate settlement recognition of the WPSCT relies only on the fact that the Tribunal is still active in the supervision of the proposed voting recommendation then this is now settled in the case of Ngai Tamahaua from what you have been informed of above. We are out, indeed we were never in.

Ministers are advised to immediately terminate the Whakatohea/WPSCT mandate – or at the very least to recognise Ngai Tamahaua Hapu (Wai 1781) as being outside of the Whakatohea/WPSCT mandate.

An unwillingness on the part of Ministers at this point to halt this clearly flawed voting process or unwillingness to recognise that the Hapu is outside of the purported mandate would be considered a provocation warranting a sharp reaction from the Hapu. As it stands the Hapu policy as to our relations is contained in a letter from the Hapu Chair to the UK and NZ governments dated 8 January 2017. As signalled in that letter the Hapu in addition to taking measures of defence reserve the right to refer the matter to exterior fora under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to initiate proceedings at the UN for decolonisation on the basis of that applied to Tokelau.

For your information the Hapu claimants intend to send a memorandum requesting the Tribunal to:
a) declare the voting recommendation redundant due to unresolvable practical and legal difficulties and to vacate all that part of the recommendation concerning a vote, and
b) discharge the Hon Mr Harrison QC from his duties as Independent returning Officer, and
c) declare that any voting process run by the WPSCT and/or the Crown that purports to be done in connection with the Tribunal or because of the Tribunal would be invalid and have no affect and the Crown must not give it any consideration or affect in the event it is attempted to be conducted, certified or declared and
d) confirm the alternative given in the Tribunal recommendation that the Crown terminate the mandate forthwith, and
e) declare itself to be functus officio and discharge itself.

It is hoped that a collision between our Hapu and your government may be avoided by Ministers taking the advice offered. Any decision on your part should be copied to the Tribunal promptly as this is an urgent matter requiring priority attention.

Naku noa na

Peter T Selwyn
Ngai Tamahaua Hapu Chair

Tracy F Hillier, Rita R Wordsworth
Wai 1781 claimants


September Hapu Hui

Nau mai haere mai

Our Hapu Hui – normally first Sunday of each month – was postponed for a week due to unforeseen circumstances and is now on this Sunday, 9th September, 10:30am at Opape marae.   Was advertised in last Thursday’s Opotiki News and will appear again in this Thursday’s edition. Arohamai for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Look forward to seeing everyone there.  Please bring a plate for a shared lunch.

Injunction of Waitangi Tribunal voting recommendation

Ngai Tamahaua claimants have joined Upokorehe claimants who are leading a judicial review of the Waitangi Tribunal Wai 2662 urgency findings in respect of the panel’s decision to recommend a vote/re-vote on a Treaty settlement mandate etc.

The next legal action connected to these proceedings is a hearing at the High Court in Wellington apopo (5th September) for an injunction to stop the voting process. The result should be known a few days afterwards and news of this will be posted here.

Ministerial inquiry into WMTB extended

The ministerial inquiry into the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board (regarding  governance and management and the 2017 elections) which is being conducted by Mr Heron QC has been extended by Hon Nanaia Mahuta to a final report date of 7 September 2018.  Comments and submissions regarding the draft report will be received up to 30 August.