ZUI Blog: Settlement and the Waitangi Tribunal

Sep 02, 2020 | latest

What do you get when you get a roopu of Whakatōhea whānau together to talk about Settlement and the Waitangi Tribunal? An awesome kōrero to understand why some whānau want Settlement, and why some whānau want the Waitangi Tribunal process. And the understanding that now, we can have both.

Of late, we have felt the need to address some topics directly with whānau to ensure we understand their perspectives on certain matters.

During this process we decided to create an online ZUI series that would speak about these topics, and what our whānau aspirations for Settlement are. 

Therefore, the last Wednesday of every month we will be discussing different topics. During our inaugural ZUI, our topic of discussion was Settlement and the Waitangi Tribunal. 

From the Trusts perspective, we have always been supportive of Settlement, obviously. But we are also support the Waitangi Tribunal Inquiry. 
When an Iwi decides it wants to settle with the Crown they have to decide to either:  

1.    go through a Waitangi Tribunal Inquiry, wait for the report and then start negotiations with the Crown after this process 
OR 
2.    not wait for a hearing and start negotiations and settle with the Crown. This meant that if an Iwi goes into negotiations with the Crown to settle it cannot have a Tribunal hearing as well.

When the opportunity presented itself in 2019 where the Crown would be supportive of a dual/parallel process (continuing Settlement negotiations AND continuing with a Waitangi Inquiry until the end), we felt this was the most effective outcome that could have happened for Whakatōhea. 

•    Our whānau who want Settlement negotiations to progress and see the benefits of this process got this
•    Our claimant whānau who are looking forward to telling their stories in the WAI1750 Waitangi Tribunal Inquiry, will get this as well

We had a range of whānau on our panel to discuss and debate this topic, with 3 of the 7 panel members participating in the Waitangi Inquiry as claimants. 

The main sentiment from panel members was that the parallel process is a good thing.
When asked what her thoughts were on Settlement and the Waitangi Tribunal, we thought one of our panel members, Micah Tawhara summed it up beautifully by saying:

“It’s a powerful opportunity actually. I’ve had my moments over the years and not liked how the Tribunal Process has operated. But, at the end of the day, in my experience in what I have seen and what I have heard, you’ve got some of our whānau that have been waiting a long time to have this opportunity and tell their stories to the Crown, like a long long time. There’s also an opportunity for research, I think that’s valuable for whānau that have been waiting for that time too, so they are able to at long last, share their stories. 

Then there are some of our whānau , and a lot of them are not here with us anymore, who have been focussed, and in their own ways have healed their mamae and the injustices that their tīpuna have suffered, have gone through their own processes through looking at a future for their own mokopuna, for their whānau . And the Settlement process provides that, in my view. And some of them, will still be able to have some of their stories told too”.

Ultimately, what we were left with at the end of all of this kōrero is that we have an opportunity to learn and tell our stories, and hopefully, by continuing to talk to each other, and confronting our mamae together, as one Whakatōhea, the healing process can begin. 

If you would like to hear what all of our panel members had to say, click here for the full hour length ZUI on Settlement and the Waitangi Tribunal. 

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