Outcome of the Waitangi Tribunal report and next steps on our Settlement Journey
The initial Waitangi Tribunal report was released on Tuesday 24 March 2020 — this detailed its preliminary determinations in response to the resumption applications by Wairarapa Moana Incorporation (WMI), Ngāi Tūmapūhia-ā-Rangi and the Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-a-Rua Settlement Trust heard in late 2018 and 2019.
We believe the outcomes of this report now present a positive opportunity for us to move forward for the benefit of all the people of Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui-a-Rua – and we want to thank you for all your support during this time.
The report said that given the level and nature of prejudice suffered by all of the people of Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-ā-Rua at the hands of the Crown, leaving them virtually landless, the Maraetai Power Station and Ngāumu Crown Forest lands should be returned to our iwi as a whole: “Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-a-Rua nui tonu”.
In stating so, the Tribunal rejected making resumption orders in favour of the WMI and Ngāi Tūmapuhi-ā-Rangi, but rather highlighted the suitability of the Settlement Trust to receive these lands on behalf of our people.
Mercury Energy are challenging the Waitangi Tribunal decisions in the High Court. The Crown are set to decide by 30 June 2020 whether they will also challenge these decisions.
The Settlement Trust intends to oppose these court proceedings, as they present a significant risk to the Waitangi Tribunal’s preliminary decisions and our current, or any enhanced, settlement package. We are committed to working in the best interests of our people — this is one of these examples.
The court hearings will be held on 27–30 October 2020 — this timeframe is reflective of the Settlement Trust requesting that the timetable and resolutions in relation to Mercury’s claim are awarded priority.
In parallel, we are committed to progressing a mediation process with the Crown, WMI and Ngāi Tūmapūhia-ā-Rangi to try to resolve issues and allow the Settlement to go ahead without further delay.
The Settlement Trust is committed to engaging in further negotiations, and through two separate mediations, to try to resolve these issues and allow the settlement to proceed quickly:
- A new mediation with WMI and the Settlement Trust.
- Resuming the previous mediation between the Crown,
Ngāi Tūmapūhia-ā-Rangi and the Settlement Trust.
This will not be easy given the number of interested parties (Mercury, the Crown, WMI, Ngāi Tūmapūhia-ā-Rangi and the Settlement Trust), the value of the Maraetai Power Station and Ngāumu Crown Forest lands (more than $800 million) and the novel and complicated nature of the legal issues at play here. It is important to note too, that the Crown has indicated it only wishes to talk to the Settlement Trust.
The Crown will advise its position on the Mercury issue by 30 June.
We will provide an update by mid-July on what the Crown’s intentions are, as well as an update on any progress we have had on any negotiations that have been held to try to resolve all of this.
We acknowledge that while both WMI and Ngāi Tūmapūhia-ā-Rangi have in effect had their resumption applications rejected, that they made them in the first place, while causing significant delays and costs to the Treaty settlement process, does help provide the potential for an enhanced outcome for our people.
We want to be inclusive and bring all of Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tamaki nui-ā-Rua together to overcome the tensions caused over the last three years of litigation, but ultimately, to overcome the mamae caused by the Crown’s original breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi.
As a Settlement Trust, we have always prioritised working together. Our kaupapa has been focused on delivering the benefits of a settlement to all our people across the rohe – including those who are WMI shareholders and Ngāi Tūmapūhia-ā-Rangi hapū. Working in a way that has divided our people has never been our intention, yet we acknowledge that this process has led to some division amongst our people.
If a negotiated outcome is not possible, then it is likely the Mercury legal challenge, and any further Tribunal hearings, will take at least three more years to resolve and our settlement signing will be delayed further. We do not want this to happen.
In the meantime, we have put together a comprehensive Q&A to explain why we have been unable to sign our Deed of Settlement yet, as well as to explain the Mercury issue further. The document also contains a timeline of our journey to date. You can access this here.
You can read the full Waitangi Tribunal preliminary report here.
We know our settlement journey has been taking longer than we all anticipated. We remain committed to removing all the barriers to us reaching a final settlement for our people.
Thank you for your continued support whānau.
About the Trust
The purpose of Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui-a-Rua Settlement Trust is to represent all our iwi members in negotiating the settlement of our Treaty of Waitangi grievances with the Crown.
The initial Trust was established in December 2010 following extensive consultation with our iwi, hapū and marae. Our trustees were elected by Ngā Hapū Karanga.
We have now transitioned to our Settlement Trust as we work towards completing this important kaupapa for all those who whakapapa to Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui-a-Rua.
Everyone who has whakapapa to Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui-a-Rua is welcome to register with us.
Registering is the first step to:
- Staying up to date – you’ll receive regular pānui on important issues and decisions affecting our Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui-a-Rua Settlement
- Having your say – if there are any further votes on matters related to our Treaty Settlement in the future, registered members 18 years or older will be able to vote and have their say.
Or, if you want to know more about your Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui-a-Rua whakapapa, please contact us on 0800 559 867 or email@example.com – we can help.