Christmas Update

Tena Koutou Whanau

Te Runanganui o Hikairo are providing you with a final update for 2020 and taking the opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

It has been a difficult year for the Runanga and we are sure for many of you as well. Unexpected events like COVID 19 – and changes to the committee and Claims Team – have significantly impacted on the mahi we have been able to do. However the Treaty Claims remain an important kaupapa and key priority. This work has now been ongoing for over a decade. This year, with the resignation of different Claims Team members and the Runanga Chair, we have had to pick up where they left off.

In the past three months, we have achieved the following:

⦁ Rapidly sourced the information required to continue the treaty claims work – as much of the this was held by the Treaty Claims team in terms of institutional and historical knowledge
⦁Concluded consultation with Ngati Maniapoto on issues such as shared whakapapa and where they were at with their settlement. As outlined previously, Ngati Hikairo was not included in the final settlement.
⦁ Commenced the comprehensive development of the two remaining settlement options. Including getting specific details on the Waikato Tainui Oati – which has not yet been provided – and further investigating the option of ‘going alone’ in terms of seeking legal opinion and precedents.
⦁ Set a target for March 2021 to undertake iwi consultation – this being highly dependent on progress being made with Waikato Tainui. If all goes well, we should have the options to you in detail by February 2021.
⦁ Reestablished the relationship with Te Arawhiti – the Office for Maori Crown Relations
⦁ Commenced the development of an iwi registration and voting system to enable the consultation to occur.
⦁ Enhanced the skillset of the Runanga to enable future negotiations and claims management
⦁ Sourced new lawyers following the resignation of Takutai Moana Lawyers. The law firm of Atkins Holm Majurey is now engaged to progress our High Court proceedings.
⦁ Prepared for the recruitment of the Project Manager and Community Researcher roles – as well as engaging a Historian – for the Takutai Moana Project to enable Te Runanganui o Ngati Hikairo to present their evidence in relation to the Takutai Moana (Marine and Coastal Area) proceedings to the High Court. These positions will soon be advertised through our website and Facebook page.
⦁ Commenced the development of a Claims Strategy – as it is more than just developing options or negotiations. To get the right results for the iwi we want a careful, informed strategy and a tactical approach.

In addition to the above we have provided a “holding reply” that has set out our initials concerns to the Waitangi Tribunal regarding the Tribunal’s embargoed pre-publication Part VI, for the Wai 898 – Te Rohe Pōtae District Inquiry . We are seeking further legal advice on this report as there was no consultation with Te Runanganui o Hikairo prior to this report’s release. We expect this advice by mid to late January 2021.

While it may appear that the Runanga is lagging, it is not. We have been hard at work achieving positive results for the iwi in the short time we have been together. It is also important to understand that we have had to pick up the work from where the previous Claims Team left the project – and while we have tried to not lose momentum – we have spent a considerable amount of time trying to make sense of our current position. And we are now positive about the way forward.

Furthermore, the Runanga has not been working alone, we have looked across our whanau and are amazed at the talent we have amongst our people. We have reached out to them to assist us – and they have answered the call. While Waikato Tainui are resourced well to do their mahi, we have relied on our own taonga. We are confident this will match any Crown or Iwi. Our tupuna have shown that to us and we are following their path.

As the year ends, Te Runanganui o Hikairo wish you a wonderful Christmas and new year and that all of whanau stay safe during these holidays.

Nga Mihi Nui