Maniapoto, e te Iwi, we have our team to negotiate the settlement of our Treaty of Waitangi claims.

Chairman Tiwha Bell said today:  “As we signalled earlier, we wanted to move quickly to appoint our negotiation team so we could hit the ground running once the mandate decision was confirmed by the Crown.

“We called for people to put their hand up and we got a strong response. As a result the board has confirmed Nanaia Mahuta, Peter Douglas and Mook Hohneck as the Maniapoto negotiation team, with Nanaia as the lead negotiator.

“We believe this is a strong team which represents the broadest cross section of Maniapoto.  Between them our negotiators have strong commercial, governance and negotiation experience and are well versed in Maniapoto history and tikanga,” Mr Bell said.

Ms Mahuta said that she had discussed her desire to be involved in the settlement of Maniapoto’s claims with Labour Party leadership.

“To avoid any real or perceived conflict of interest I have stepped down from my role as Labour’s spokesperson for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations.  It is important mahi and I am looking forward to getting in to it.”

The team are having their first meeting with the Crown negotiator before Christmas and negotiations proper will begin in the New Year.