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Wharekauri/Chatham Islands Iwi Forge New Relationship With Crown


Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri (NMoW) have today signed an
Agreement In Principle (AIP) with the Crown towards a Treaty
of Waitangi settlement, marking a fresh start in relations
between the two signatories.

After a lengthy and
difficult process which began in 2016, Lead Negotiator for
the iwi, Tom McClurg says the AIP is a positive step
forward.

“Coming to an agreement allows us to
establish a proper Treaty of Waitangi-based relationship
with the Crown that has not existed since the annexation of
Wharekauri/Chatham Islands in November 1842,” he
says.

“Our people see the agreement with the Crown
as a beginning rather than an end – a fresh start for nga
uri o Ngāti Mutunga and the wider Wharekauri community,”
says McClurg.

Mr McClurg is particularly pleased with
the inclusion of a formal acknowledgement in the AIP of the
unreasonable behaviour of the Crown during the 1842
annexation almost three years after the signing of the
Treaty of Waitangi in which the standards of the Crown’s
expected conduct towards Māori were set out.

The AIP
includes reference to a “profound failure” on the part
of the Crown to pay “respect to the mana and te tino
rangatiratanga of Ngāti Mutunga o
Wharekauri”*.

“In practice, the payment of that
overdue respect by the Crown translates to a very small
redress offer. But we also need to be pragmatic and take the
offer to unlock opportunities previously denied to us
because of that disrespect,” says McClurg.

“The
way the settlement process has been managed has caused
significant tension within our community, with one iwi
settlement being fast-tracked while ours was still in
negotiation, despite an agreement to negotiate both
concurrently. This process has been particularly upsetting
for some of our people, especially given that some whakapapa
to both iwi on Wharekauri.

“While the proposed
settlement currently doesn’t meet all our needs – it is
heartening to see a renewed focus on relationship building,
manaakitanga. It’s also heartening to recall that there is
no such thing as ‘full and final’ in a relationship. Now
that our relationship with the Crown is being re-set, we
have many generations ahead for that relationship to deliver
benefits,” says McClurg.

Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri
Iwi Trust CEO, Gail Amaru, says the opening of the
purpose-built Office Facility and adjoining Chatham Islands
Museum, which was commissioned by Ngāti Mutunga, is
representative of the way in which the Wharekauri community
work effectively together in such a remote
location.

“Ngāti Mutunga have an intergenerational,
forward-looking focus. Our approach throughout the
settlement process has been to honour our tūpuna and
provide for our mokopuna by building a strong foundation for
our future. Today’s signing is a transformational step
towards that future,” says Amaru.

“This AIP has
been a long time coming and it is down to the steadfast work
of many, led by Tom McClurg, whose determination in the face
of protracted negotiations is relentless,” she
says.

“We are all proud of our stance as iwi, Ngāti
Mutunga are more united today than we were even six years
ago when the process began,” Amaru
notes.

© Scoop Media

 



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