New Zealand Law Society - Waitangi Tribunal releases Te Rohe Pōtae claim report

Waitangi Tribunal releases Te Rohe Pōtae claim report

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The Waitangi Tribunal has released the first 11 chapters of Te Mana Whatu Ahuru: Report on Te Rohe Pōtae Claims.

The report addresses 277 claims concerning Crown actions in Te Rohe Pōtae after the Treaty was signed on 6 February 1840.

It finds that the Crown’s significant breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi caused serious damage to the mana and autonomy of the iwi and hapū of Te Rohe Pōtae (the King Country).

The Tribunal reviewed Crown actions in terms of land purchasing in the district, the establishment of the Kīngitanga, its implications for Te Rohe Potae Māori, the impacts of war, and the definition and maintenance of the aukati (Māori zone of authority) in Te Rohe Pōtae which lasted for an unprecedented 20 years.

The central issue addressed in the report concerned negotiations between the leaders of Te Rohe Pōtae – especially Ngāti Maniapoto – and the Crown in the 1880s. The negotiations, and the agreements that resulted, are known by Te Rohe Pōtae Māori as Te Ōhākī Tapu. This term is derived from Te Kī Tapu (the sacred word), a phrase used by Ngāti Maniapoto leaders to describe the conduct they sought from the Crown.

Based on the Treaty breaches it has identified so far, the Tribunal has recommended the Crown take immediate steps to act, in conjunction with the mandated settlement group or groups, to put in place means to give effect to their rangatiratanga.

How this can be achieved will be for the claimants and Crown to decide, but the Tribunal recommends that, at a minimum, legislation must be enacted that recognises and affirms the rangatiratanga and the rights of autonomy and self-determination of Te Rohe Pōtae Māori.