Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust welcomes Waitangi Tribunal decision to hold district inquiry

Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust (the Trust) has welcomed the Waitangi Tribunal’s decision this week to hold a district inquiry into claims for the north-eastern Bay of Plenty area.

While the results of the Whakatōhea vote in November last year showed majority support for the Trust to continue to negotiate a settlement for the Iwi, it also illustrated that an independent Waitangi Tribunal inquiry was important to a significant number of Iwi members.

Chairman Graeme Riesterer says that the Trust has strongly advocated to the Crown to allow a Waitangi Tribunal hearing to occur either alongside or even after negotiations are completed.

“Our people believe it is important to have our stories and history told so we are heartened that the Waitangi Tribunal had finally granted an inquiry, especially, given that the initial Whakatōhea claims were filed over 30 years ago.”

However, the Trust believes the Tribunal should revisit its chosen boundaries as they have cut off the western and southern reaches of the Whakatōhea rohe. This means that the proposed inquiry can’t look into all aspects of the Whakatōhea claims.

“We would have thought that an inquiry into our grievances would have at least been comprehensive. However, with the district inquiry now confirmed, the Trust will continue to work with our people and the Crown to progress settlement negotiations to create a win-win situation for Whakatōhea,” says Mr Riesterer.

Mr Riesterer says the Trust remains committed to continued engagement with all Whakatōhea to broaden support for a settlement.

“We are hopeful that we can transform our Agreement in Principle into a Deed of Settlement for all our Iwi to vote on in the future,” says Mr Riesterer.

“We urge all Whakatōhea uri to come along with us on this journey, so that together we can begin to heal the wounds of the past and bring about a prosperous future for our people.”

About the North-Eastern Bay of Plenty district inquiry (Wai 1750)

The North-Eastern Bay of Plenty district inquiry relates to the southern portion of the north-eastern Bay of Plenty area where the Tribunal has not previously held a district inquiry. While Whakatōhea historical claims would be a key focus of the Inquiry, this broader North-Eastern Bay of Plenty district inquiry would also hear Whakatōhea claimants’ contemporary grievances, and the claims of any claimants within the inquiry district not affiliated to Whakatōhea who wish to bring them before the Tribunal.

URGENT PĀNUI: Annual General Meeting moved to Waiaua Marae

Our Annual General Meeting today has now been moved to Waiaua Marae. The AGM will start at 10am, today, Saturday 30 March.

The road to Opape Marae has been blocked, so we have moved the AGM venue to Waiaua Marae.

A huge ngā mihi to Waiaua Marae for accommodating this important hui at short notice.

For those who cannot make it to the AGM today, we will be uploading a video of the hui after.

We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused to whānau and we encourage you to still come along and hear the latest updates from the Trust, and share your feedback on our mahi and where we are at in our Settlement journey.

The AGM agenda is below:

10.00 AM – AGM 
Chairman’s Report
Annual Report
Audited Financial Statements 

Resolutions:
To receive the Chair’s Report
To receive the Annual Report
To receive the Audited Financial Statements
General Business
Engagement Strategy with the Crown
Engagement Strategy with Hapū and Iwi
Deed of Mandate – amendments to the withdrawal clause
1.00 PM – LUNCH 

WPCT approach to continuing Negotiations following vote to “Test the Pulse of the People”

WPCT approach to continuing Negotiations following vote to “Test the Pulse of the People”

Tēnā koutou katoa,

Much of 2018 was absorbed by working towards the finding of the Tribunal Inquiry for an iwi-wide vote on whether there is support for the Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust to continue to negotiate to reach a settlement.

Below are some key points to note

  • The results of the vote released in November of last year vote showed majority support for WPCT to continue to negotiate a settlement.
  • The Trust has never opposed a Waitangi Inquiry, just not at the expense of delaying negotiations.
  • The Trust has always sought to engage with processes that could support our aims for reconciliation. Our view is that these would be more useful if they were designed by Whakatōhea for Whakatōhea. 
  • The vote illustrated that an independent inquiry by the Waitangi Tribunal was important for a significant number of Whakatōhea.
  • Since the vote, the Trust has advocated for the Crown to make an exception for Whakatōhea and ensure that any settlement should not close the door on a Waitangi Tribunal Inquiry taking place. This would allow us to meet the aspirations expressed by the majority who want to continue negotiations and bring them to a conclusion, and those who want a Tribunal inquiry.
  • The Crown has agreed to explore what this option could look like and the Trust is supporting this process. This approach would allow:
    • Claimants to take forward our claims within the context of the Waitangi Tribunal
    • The Trust to take forward our settlement in the context of the Crown Negotiations
  • The Trust is also committed to continued engagement with hapū and Whakatōhea generally to broaden the support base for a settlement.

Should you have any questions, we encourage you to discuss them with the Trust. 

Nā māua, nā

Graeme Riesterer
Chairman


Notice of Annual General Meeting 2019

Notice of Annual General Meeting 2019

Whakatohea Pre-Settlement Trust Logo

Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust invites you to join our upcoming Annual General Meeting. We encourage you and all our whānau to come along and hear the latest updates, and share your feedback.

SATURDAY 30 MARCH 2019
OPAPE MARAE, SH 35, OPAPE ROAD, ŌPŌTIKI

10.00 AM – AGM 
Chairman’s Report
Annual Report
Audited Financial Statements 

Resolutions:
To receive the Chair’s Report
To receive the Annual Report
To receive the Audited Financial Statements
General Business
Engagement Strategy with the Crown
Engagement Strategy with Hapū and Iwi
Deed of Mandate – amendments to the withdrawal clause
1.00 PM – LUNCH 

Note: Copies of the Annual Report are available on request from the Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust Office. For any enquiries, please contact Gina Smith: Telephone 07 315 6150 or email gina.smith@whakatohea.co.nz.

Media statement: Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust acknowledges Minister’s approach

Media statement: Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust acknowledges Minister’s approach

Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust (the Trust) is pleased with the statement today from the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Hon Andrew Little, that he will engage with the Trust around important issues that emerged from the Whakatōhea voting process.

Trust Chairman, Graeme Riesterer, says the Trust agrees with the Minister that a continued broad base of support is needed to ensure an enduring settlement, and believes that this can be achieved.

“Although there are clearly issues to work through before we resume negotiations, there is still majority support for the Trust and a desire to see our settlement progress,” Mr Riesterer says.

“The Trust recognises the view expressed by the vote that it is extremely important to have our stories and history told through a historical inquiry. As such, we asked the Minister to consider how this can be done while our settlement negotiations continue.”

Minister Little says he will look at options for how to address the request for a Tribunal inquiry, and that one way of doing this could be running a historical inquiry process in parallel, or after, negotiations.

Mr Riesterer says the Trust is committed to working with the Crown on potential ways forward, in consultation with Whakatōhea hapū and whānau.  

“The Trust’s goal remains to see the aspirations of our tīpuna come to life,” says Mr Riesterer.

 “Our hope is still that we can transform our Agreement in Principle into a Deed of Settlement for all our iwi to vote on, and to bring positive change for all our generations to come.”

“We urge all Whakatōhea to work with us and the Crown to find a way to achieve a settlement for our iwi, so we can realise our shared goal of a better future for our people.”

Message from the Chairman – Ngā mihi o te wā me te Tau Hau

Message from the Chairman – Ngā mihi o te wā me te Tau Hau

Tēnā koutou katoa,

What a year it has been for Te Whakatōhea – another challenging year, as we progress towards an enduring settlement for all of Whakatōhea.

On behalf of all our Trustees, we extend a heartfelt mihi to Whakatōhea whānui who stood by the Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust throughout 2018. We know this year has been a testing one, and we remain humbled by your support.

Much of the year has been absorbed by the challenges of the Waitangi Tribunal Inquiry, and the resulting iwi-wide voting process that was recommended.

We were pleased to receive the results vote which showed majority support for this Trust and our continued work to achieve a comprehensive settlement for all our people.  We look forward to the Ministers for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and for Māori Development confirming these results so that we can keep moving forward towards settlement.

We had hoped to have a decision on this before Christmas, but this is now looking more likely to be received in the new year.

We want to take this opportunity to assure you that the Trust will continue in its works for all of Te Whakatōhea and we look forward to moving forward with unity to ensure the aspirations of our tīpuna come to life.

Indeed, our Agreement in Principle holds the promise of much opportunity for Te Whakatōhea: a comprehensive settlement of $100 million, it will help us equip our iwi to assert huge authority and influence over and within our rohe in a practical expression of mana whenua and mana moana, and in social terms help generate jobs to ensure that our people can return home and prosper. You can read more about what the AIP includes here.

Additional to our settlement, we were pleased with the recent announcement of funding from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) for the further development of aquaculture opportunities within our rohe.  This is very much aligned with, and will enhance, the outcomes that will be achieved for Whakatōhea through the negotiations with the Crown. The PGF funding includes $935,000 for the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board to prepare a business case to accelerate aquaculture developments in Whakatōhea rohe moana, and $19,850,000 to be invested in the development of a sustainable mussel farming and production facility in Ōpōtiki. You can read more about all the projects receiving support from the PGF in our region here.

This is exciting news and we look forward to seeing our people spearheading this growing industry through our settlement, and providing opportunities for the people of Ōpōtiki.  As Whakatōhea, we work together to grow what we believe are the best mussels in the world. We can go even further in creating opportunities for our iwi, hapū and whānau when we realise the 5000ha of marine space we have negotiated in our settlement for Whakatōhea.

We look forward to 2019, and our big hope is that it will be the year where we can transform our Agreement in Principle into the Deed of Settlement for all our iwi to vote upon. We are also keen to ensure a comprehensive historic account is included in our settlement. We will continue to keep you updated on any developments relating to the Crown decision on the vote, our settlement negotiations, and how you can be involved.

Now, Christmas is almost here, and we, your Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trustees wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We hope you stay safe this festive season, and get to enjoy quality time with whānau. Mā te Atua e manaaki, e arahia, e tiaki hoki i ā tātou katoa i roto i te Kirihimete me te Tau Hou ka heke mai nei.

Nākū noa, nā

Graeme Riesterer
Chairman