On 13 May 2013, the Trustees appointed Ron Mark, Ian Perry, Robin Potangaroa and Haami Te Whaiti to lead the negotiations with the Crown to settle historical Treaty claims. The appointments were made following a publicly advertised recruitment process and in accordance with the Trust Deed.
“Our decision to appoint five Trustees as negotiators was not taken lightly,” said Trust Chair Ian Perry. “The Trustees were aware of the need to manage conflict of interest issues alongside the advice from many who have completed settlement of their Treaty claims about the high value of negotiators coming from within the claimant community.”
“Trustees are confident that we have a strong team to continue to work undertaken by so many of our people over decades to seek settlement of our Treaty grievances. Ron Mark has been elected to lead the Negotiations Team.”
“Our negotiators will be supported by the other Trustees and others within the hapu karanga with expertise in a range of areas as well as having access to external specialist advisers. This is a massive task for our people and we know we must achieve a settlement that not only assists local hapu but also boosts the Maori commercial presence in the greater Wairarapa community as well”.
“The Trustees remain committed to working towards settlement of our claims as quickly as possible in a manner consistent with the Trust processes and in terms of our mandate.” Mr Perry stated.
Our negotiations bring diverse skills and particular strengths to the negotiations:
In 2014 Ron Mark resigned from his position as Lead Negotiator following his successful election into Parliament.
“As a negotiator, my strength is in-depth knowledge of our Treaty claims through my involvement in the Waitangi Tribunal process in our rohe since 1994. I will bring a solid commitment and strong governance values to the negotiations. Having been a farmer all my life I bring practical reality along with a wide commercial and economic view. I have strong whanau values and will always uphold the tikanga of our tupuna. I will work toward all hapu being able to attain their cultural and economic aspirations enabling them to uplift their people to a higher level of prosperity and wellbeing.”
“My foundation is in our traditional history. I will bring to the fore the cultural aspects of our claim during the negotiations. The settlement quantum will provide our economic platform but it is the cultural aspects of the settlement that will bring the quality result we want for our people for now and for our future. People say I am not afraid of a challenge. I have owned a plumbing business for many years and suspect that my expertise in clearing blockages and sorting our messes may be needed during the next phase of our claim settlement.”
Hami Te Whaiti
“My long and active involvement in working to resolve the historical land and cultural grievances of my hapu will be of real value to the settlement negotiations. My hope is that the settlement of the claims will be equitable for all hapu, provide a sound platform for our future and bring atonement for the injustices suffered by our tipuna.”
“My time on the Trust has helped me develop my skills and experience to be an effective member of the Negotiating team. I am now familiar with the Treaty process and how to progress our claims to reach a conclusion at the same time as keeping our Ngati Kahungunu mana and tikanga intact. As I have done with my other roles within our rohe, I will to serve you all to the best of my ability. I have two ears and one mouth therefore I tend to listen at least twice as much as I speak so consultation plays a big part in how I operate. Your thoughts, dreams and aspirations matter to me so tell me what they are. I can’t guarantee that they will be included as I am part of a team but you never know, there may be others with the same dreams as you. I will do my very best to help us reach a settlement of all historical Treaty claims of Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa-Tamaki Nui a Rua so that we can assure our moko of a better, brighter future”.
We are now waiting to hear the outcomes of the Waitangi Tribunal hearings. While further delays are frustrating, we must allow this process to run its course. The Crown has also acknowledged this is a cause for frustration for us, and that it has already been a long path for Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui-a-Rua.
We hope that once the outcome of the hearings are known, we will be able to move forward and sign our Deed of Settlement. This will be a momentous and historic occasion for Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui-a-Rua, one which we hope to see this year.