New Zealand Law Society - Waitangi Tribunal releases Maniapoto Mandate Inquiry Report

Waitangi Tribunal releases Maniapoto Mandate Inquiry Report

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The Waitangi Tribunal has released the Maniapoto Mandate Inquiry Report in pre-publication format. The report addresses 10 claims.

The Tribunal says the overarching issue in the inquiry was whether the Crown breached the Treaty of Waitangi in recognising the Maniapoto Māori Trust Board’s mandate to negotiate the Ngāti Maniapoto settlement of historical Treaty claims with the Crown.

"The Tribunal’s overall finding is that the Crown’s recognition of the Trust Board’s mandate was reasonable given the Trust Board’s level of support, infrastructure, and extensive involvement in previous settlements.

"It was also reasonable given that, prior to September 2016, the Crown had conducted lengthy discussions in good faith with Te Kawau Mārō, the entity which previously sought the mandate to negotiate the Ngāti Maniapoto settlement.

"However, the Tribunal found that aspects of the process to recognise the Trust Board’s mandate were not fair or undertaken in good faith."

In particular, the Tribunal says, the Crown’s implementation of the ‘Broadening the Reach’ strategy and its fluctuating position concerning the inclusion of Ngāti Apakura in the deed of mandate breached the principles of partnership, reciprocity and equal treatment.

The Tribunal has concluded that ‘Broadening the Reach’, in particular, prioritised the Crown’s political objectives to complete settlements within a shorter timeframe over its Treaty relationship with Ngāti Maniapoto.

The Tribunal has also found that the Trust Board’s deed of mandate, as it currently stands, is largely adequate for the purpose of negotiations.