WHAKATŌHEA MYTHBUSTERS

Myth: The Settlement will erase Marine and Coastal Area Act (MACA) Claims.

No.The Agreement in Principle specifically states that it will not have an impact on the MACA claims which are currently engaged in another process.

Hapū MACA claims are more likely to be affected by other hapū claims or other claimants which have created overlapping claims for much of the Whakatōhea rohe moana.

Myth: The Crown recognises Ngāti Muriwai.

No.The Crown has stated that it is not for the Crown to tell Whakatōhea who they are, but that it is up to Whakatōhea to agree on who will be part of its Post-Settlement Governance Entity.

The relationship between Ngāti Muriwai and Ngāti Rua is a central component of the discussion but all hapū would have to agree to new entities being recognised as part of Whakatōhea, whether that be Ngāti Muriwai now or other groups in the future.

Myth: Whakatōhea has interests in the Mangatu Crown Forest.

No. Claimants in the North Eastern Bay of Plenty Inquiry District would like the Mangatu Crown Forest to be represented within the Whakatōhea area of interest so that they can access Crown Forest Rental Trust funding for their research and legal fees. However, this boundary has been explicitly accepted by claimants progressing claims for Ngāti Rua, Ngāti Ira, and Ngāti Patumoana. Mangatu sits outside of this boundary.

The Mangatu Crown Forest sits outside of the Whakatōhea rohe boundaries shared by Te Hoera Horokai and Heremia Hoera as part of the Royal Commission into Māori Land Confiscations (Sims Commission) in 1926.

Commencing at Pakihi, at the mouth of the river along the sea coast to the mouth of the Waiotahe Stream to the mouth of the Ohiwa Harbour to Tehoro, then turning inland southwards to Puhikokoto Pukemoremore then to Mapouriki, at one time a fighting pā. Then descending to Waimana Stream, to Mapouriki; following the Waimana Stream toward its source at Tautautahi along the banks to the mouth of the Pārau Stream; then following Pārau Stream to Tangata-e-roha on to Kaharoa (an old settlement); from Kaharoa to Pa Harakeke, a ridge leading towards Maungapohatu to Maungatāpere descending into the Motu river to Kaitaura falls to Peketutu; leaving the river and up a ridge to Whakararonga; following the hill tops until it reaches Tipi O Houmea (a peak) descending towards Makamaka till it crosses Takaputahi Stream to NgaupokoTangata following the ridge to Kamakama; along the ridge to Oroi then turning seawards to Te Rangi on the sea coast; then along the sea coast to the mouth of the Ōpape Stream to Awahou Stream to Tirohanga and back to Pakihi.

Myth: The vote shows that all hapū opposed the Settlement continuing.

No. For question 1 about WPCT continuing to negotiate the Whakatōhea historical Treaty claims, there were 1,534 people who voted in support and 1192 against. For question 2B about halting the Treaty negotiations to carry out a Waitangi Tribunal inquiry, 1,382 voted in support, which is a smaller number than those that voted to continue with negotiations.

A number of claimant lawyers continue to state that all hapū were against Whakatōhea, but they are only using the smaller number of Whakatōhea respondents who answered question 2B.

Myth: WPCT set the questions for the vote.

No. WPCT decided that it was best to use these independent questions rather than other ones so they couldn’t be accused of writing them for their own purposes.

The questions used in the vote were the same as those suggested by the Waitangi Tribunal in its Mandate Inquiry Report.

Myth: WPCT doesn’t hold a mandate for continuing negotiations.

No. WPCT has the mandate for negotiating the Whakatōhea historical Treaty claims. 

The vote following the mandate inquiry reinforced majority support for the WPCT continuing negotiations however the WPCT asked for a parallel process given the high level of support for a Waitangi Tribunal Inquiry. Minister Little has agreed to continue the negotiations with the WPCT and allow the claimants to take forward the Whakatōhea claims into the Waitangi Tribunal process.

Myth: Wai Claimants have pulled their claims from the WPCT.

No. There are 25 claims relating to Whakatōhea listed in the AIP. An Iwi settlement always settles the claims made on behalf of the members of that Iwi. The majority of the claimants wanted to have a Waitangi Tribunal hearing and that outcome has been delivered. The WPCT will settle the grievances of the claimant community and the Iwi rather than the claimants decides who represents them in this process.

Myth: The Tribunal Inquiry will only take two to five years.

Unlikely.  During the Whakatōhea Mandate Inquiry the claimant lawyers suggested that a historic inquiry could be done in less than two years however during the recent Judicial Conferences the same claimant lawyers have asked for full Waitangi Tribunal process.

Given the fact that the North Eastern Bay of Plenty Inquiry District is covering both historical and contemporary claims it is likely that it will take longer than other district inquiries.

Myth: The Settlement will extinguish our hapū identities and exercise of rangatiratanga.

No. The settlement will not extinguish hapū identities, and it will be up to you, Whakatōhea, to decide how hapū rangatiratanga will be upheld and supported after the Settlement is received. Currently each of the hapū are represented on the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board. One of the decisions you will make is how hapū will be represented in the Post-Settlement Governance Entity (PSGE).

Myth: The Settlement won’t reach the people.

No. The settlement is for Whakatōhea and it will be up to all of Whakatōhea to make it work for our people.This is why the structure of the Post-Settlement Governance Entity is so important as well as the people that all of us will vote on as our representatives It is up to the representatives on the PSGE to ensure the settlement generates income and is distributed in ways that support the aspirations of Whakatohea.

Myth: A Tribunal report will increase the value of our Settlement.

No. A Tribunal report will not be able to increase leverage in the Whakatōhea negotiations.

Tribunal reports are useful for getting the Crown into negotiations and they often have leverage in negotiating with the Crown around how land was taken and whether it should be considered as raupatu (the worst form of land confiscation).

For the Whakatōhea negotiations, the Crown agreed that all the land that was taken could be treated as if it was raupatu.

Myth: We have to pay for all the land that is coming back to Whakatōhea.

No. The 6,692ha coming back to Whakatōhea from Public Conservation Lands is not charged against the settlement. The cultural redress properties will not be charged against the settlement.

There are some commercial properties (houses, school grounds) which the WPCT can choose to purchase on settlement or defer for the PSGE to select at a later date.

Myth: WPSCT is a part of the Tribunal Inquiry.

No. The WPCT is not part of the Tribunal Inquiry. The only role that the WPCT has is to negotiate the settlement of Whakatōhea historical Treaty claims.

The claimants are taking the Whakatōhea claims through the Waitangi Tribunal process on our behalf.

Myth: I didn’t vote for the Hapū Trustees on the WPCT.

The members of the WPCT are representatives of either a Whakatōhea hapū (6), a Whakatōhea marae (8), or the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board (1). Votes for hapū representatives were only held if there was more than one nomination for the position.

WPCT acts on our behalf in the negotiations space just like the claimants act on our behalf in the Waitangi Tribunal space. There was no voting process for claimants to take on that function but we need to work with them to get the best outcome for Whakatōhea.

Myth: The WMTB will receive the Settlement Assets.

No. The WMTB will not receive settlement assets.

WMTB assets will be added to the settlement assets and become the responsibility of the Post-Settlement Governance Entity.

Myth: Whakatōhea is a divided Iwi.

No. Whakatōhea is not a divided Iwi. People have had a difference of opinion about whether to move forward with direct negotiations or go for Waitangi Tribunal hearings. Now that we can do both through a Parallel Process there is no need to act in this manner.

Everyone (claimants, whōnau, hapū, WPCT) needs to accept that the decisions in the past have created this opportunity and we can work together to make the settlement and Waitangi Tribunal process create better outcomes for Whakatōhea and enhance the relationships within our Iwi.

Myth: The Negotiators are getting a percentage of the Settlement.

No. The whole settlement is being kept for Whakatōhea. Negotiator fees are paid by funding provided to the WPCT by Te Arawhiti – the Office for Māori Crown Relations.

Claimant lawyers received more crown funding for the Mandate Inquiry than WPCT received for negotiating the settlement.

QUESTIONS

Will there be another Mihi Marino?

Yes. The idea behind Mihi Marino is to give Whakatōhea whānau and hapū the chance to share their histories and experiences of raupatu with each other. We believe this is an important process alongside the Waitangi Tribunal one which shares our histories and experiences with the Crown.

Mihi Marino should be done on an annual basis and we will work to access funds to support this outcome.

Will hui a rohe be held in other rohe?

We have held hui-ā-rohe in Whakatāne, Rotorua, Tauranga, Hamilton, Auckland and Wellington over the past few years. We recently held hui in Gisborne and Hastings. We recognise that there are significant communities of Whakatōhea uri in other places and will also be looking at how we can connect with those whānau too.