Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust welcomes vote for settlement process
The Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust (the Trust) has welcomed a vote on whether to continue the current Settlement process, re-mandate, or hold a Waitangi Tribunal Inquiry. The vote will commence on 1 October 2018 and will run till 26 October 2018.
The vote was recommended by the Waitangi Tribunal following its inquiry into the Trust’s mandate to negotiate a Treaty settlement on behalf of Whakatōhea. The Tribunal found that the Crown had breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi by recognising the mandate and recommended that settlement negotiations be paused while Whakatōhea vote on how to proceed. In doing so, the Tribunal recognised the package in the Agreement in Principle (AIP) was worth preserving.
Whānau who affiliate to Whakatōhea will be asked to vote on whether they support the Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust to continue negotiations, or whether they want Treaty negotiations stopped for a re-mandating process, or a full Waitangi Tribunal Inquiry into the historical grievances of Whakatōhea.
Trust Chairman Graeme Riesterer says the Trust is pleased that Whakatōhea has an opportunity to come together as an iwi to decide its shared future.
“Our iwi is a collective of strong Whakatōhea hapū with a shared connection to our whenua, our moana and our tangata,” he says.
“The Trust works on behalf of all Whakatōhea, including those of us here now, as well as those of us to come. We are proud of the progress we’ve made towards establishing an enduring settlement for our people.
“We believe the upcoming vote provides an important opportunity to test the pulse of the Whakatōhea nation and for whānau and hapū to decide on what happens next in our shared settlement journey.”
Mr Riesterer says that while no settlement will ever be enough to fully compensate Whakatōhea for the wrongs it has endured, the Agreement in Principle the Trust has negotiated with the Crown provides the tools for the iwi to be able to drive its own future.
“Our settlement recognises Whakatōhea mana whenua, mana moana and mana tangata,” he says.
“It acknowledges our collective mamae and ensures our ahi kā will be supported to help our marae, our tikanga and our kawa thrive.
“More broadly, we believe it provides a platform for our rangatahi, our future leaders, to make their dreams and aspirations come to life.”
The Agreement in Principle includes an apology to Whakatōhea from the Crown, the transfer of more than 6,692 hectares of land to Whakatōhea, $100 million, including funding support for cultural and reo revitalisation.
The Trust is encouraging all Whakatōhea whānau to vote, as they did two years ago, in support of the mandate. In 2016, 91.6% of those who participated in the vote, voted in favour of the mandate.
If the direct negotiations process is reconfirmed, the Trust will complete deed negotiations and the iwi of Whakatōhea will be asked to confirm by vote before signing the Deed, if it wishes to proceed.
“If you whakapapa to Whakatōhea, then it’s your birth right to have a say on our shared future – we want all whānau to have that opportunity to vote,” says Mr Riesterer.
“The Trust believes we owe it to our elders to finish the work they started. We look forward to having our direction reconfirmed so we can achieve a settlement that will give our tamariki and mokopuna opportunities that our parents never had.”
The voting process is being managed by Electionz as the Independent Returning Officer. Further information about the vote and the proposed Whakatōhea settlement can be found at www.electionz.com/whakatohea.