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 

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.

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

Waitangi Tribunal woes frustrating for Te Whakatōhea

Waitangi Tribunal woes frustrating for Te Whakatōhea

Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust negotiator Maui Hudson says he is deeply frustrated by an admission from the Waitangi Tribunal Chief Judge that the organisation is ‘stretched to the limit’.

Earlier this year the Tribunal recommended Whakatōhea undergo a further voting process with its members to decide whether to proceed with the direct negotiations pathway or stop and pursue a full Waitangi Tribunal inquiry.

Mr Hudson says it is unacceptable for the Waitangi Tribunal to raise claimants’ expectations in the absence of robust information around timelines.

“The Tribunal must have known earlier this year, when they recommended that Whakatōhea goes to another vote, that their capability to press ahead with a full inquiry was severely limited,” he says.

“Our voting process ends today, and the Tribunal should have made this admission at the beginning of our process given it is a material consideration for our people.”

“The impact of the Tribunal’s decision means that it is highly possible that those who vote for a full district inquiry settlement did so on the assumption it would extend our settlement process by a few years rather than decades.”

“If Whakatōhea has to wait another 10-20 years for settlement, we conservatively estimate potential economic losses of at least $80m. When you combine it with the 20-year hiatus since our first offer in 1996, the loss exceeds $200m.”

“It is unacceptable for the Waitangi Tribunal to exacerbate our grievances in this manner and deny our people a chance to build their future.”

The Waitangi Tribunal receives $8m a year to fund its activities, while last year Treaty lawyers extracted $14m from Legal Aid to assist their clients.

Through the Whakatōhea Mandate Inquiry process, lawyers have received more than $1.5m in legal aid. Mr Hudson says this is more than the funding envelope available to the Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust to complete the entire negotiations process.

Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust welcomes release of Waitangi Tribunal report

Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust welcomes release of Waitangi Tribunal report

Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust (the Trust) has welcomed today’s release of a Waitangi Tribunal report inquiring into the Trust’s Deed of Mandate to settle the Treaty claims of the Whakatōhea iwi.

Chairman Graeme Riesterer says the Trust is now working through the report’s findings in detail and considering how best to address the Tribunal’s recommendations.

“Our job is to work on behalf of Whakatōhea – those of us here now as well as those of us to come, and to acknowledge and protect the mana of those who have gone before us,” he says.

“The Trust remains committed to continuing to act in the best interests of all Whakatōhea.”

Mr Riesterer says the Trust acknowledges that the Tribunal has identified a need to test the ‘pulse of the people’ in relation to the current settlement negotiations.

However, he believes the findings of the report should be considered in the context of the efforts Whakatōhea has made to try to achieve a settlement, which include more than 20 years of discussions and at least seven years’ work to achieve a mandate.

“We believe the progress we have made in negotiations with the Crown is a hugely positive step for Whakatōhea,” he says.

“Our goal has always been, and continues to be, to establish an enduring settlement for all of Whakatōhea.”

The Trust says it has been encouraged by the support from iwi members throughout the Waitangi Tribunal hearing process, especially kuia and kaumātua who have strived for decades to achieve a settlement for Whakatōhea.

“We have been humbled by their tautoko and want to recognise their commitment to this important kaupapa,” says Mr Riesterer.

“The Trust also acknowledges that reconfirming support for our settlement negotiations amongst all the members of our hapū would be a positive step, and both the Trust and the Crown supported this idea during the Waitangi Tribunal hearing.”

Mr Riesterer confirms that the Trust also supports the Tribunal’s recommendation for the Crown to engage with the Mokomoko and Te Kahika whānau.

“We are all whānau and, as we have always said, we need to come together on this journey.

“Anybody can disagree with this settlement, that’s their right, but if the majority of our iwi decide this is the right settlement then we owe it to them and our tīpuna to progress.”

The Trust says it will communicate with all its iwi members on next steps through a further round of hui-a-hapū and hui-a-rohe in the coming weeks.

“We want to kōrero with all of our people to let them know what effect the report will have, once we have fully considered the Tribunal’s findings,” Mr Riesterer says.

“We believe this settlement is crucial to the future of our iwi. The settlement redress will not only acknowledge the past, but will give all of Whakatōhea the tools to be able to drive our own future.”