Nanaia Mahuta’s – Lead Negotiator
Te Huatahi: Agreement between Maniapoto and the crown.

Mihi

Today we mark the next step on our journey towards resolving the historical injustices of the past as we must, to build a bridge towards a future our tupuna had envisaged for the next generation.

That has only been possible because of the kaumātua represented here today (our technical advisors) who have committed themselves to making sure that bridge gets built.

Minister and representatives of the Crown, the hopes and aspirations of Ngāti Maniapoto me ōna hapū maha is shining a little brighter today.

Our negotiating team has been supported by many people and we take this brief opportunity to thank them. Livestream now gives us a direct link into the homes of our whānau and we are pleased they are able to join us today.

This has been an ambitious timeframe but our team were determined to have the right conversation with ourselves first in order to have the right conversation with the Crown.

We acknowledge as has previously been mentioned an engaged Minister makes a critical difference to getting things moving.

Maniapoto like so many other iwi have been challenged with this process and we are encouraged by the potential of a Waitangi Tribunal Report being released sometime next year.

We believe that by taking a broad interests based approach to this phase of the negotiations, our ability to craft an inclusive settlement which helps to support the aspirations of the iwi can be achieved.

Minister your visits and those of the officials into the rohe give you an appreciation of a place that is largely considered on the fringe of the ‘golden triangle’ but it is the place that the Rereahu and Maniapoto people call home. It is a special place and although many of our people live outside of the rohe our ahi kaa hold space for the rest of us. We are keen to see the next lot of conversations leverage improved regional economic development opportunities so all may benefit.

Our people are our greatest asset and we are encouraged by the way in which our AIP reflect a commitment to crafting an approach to invest in a strategy of wellbeing defined by the iwi and partnered with the Crown. Sure its not a quick fix but a committed relationship going forward between Maniapoto and the Crown is a start.

Our approach will build on early visioning of Maniapoto 2050 and will develop into our 40 year plan (or a two generation turnaround). I am encouraged by the positive signals from Crown agencies to be part of this project.

Minister if we focussed on a wellbeing strategy that supported the productivity of Maniapoto whanau a marked improvement in household incomes would result. We think this can be done better and we shouldn’t have to spend all of our settlement capital to do this but rather work in tandem with the Crown to create a targeted, social investment framework which can be implemented, evaluated and measured to demonstrate success in improving wellbing.

Our relationship with several government agencies will underpin the aspirations within the rohe of Te Whare o te Nehenehenui. Our ahi kaa uphold kaitiaki responsibilities for all of us. While this (by and large) will be underpinned with the relationship with the Department of Conservation, it includes care for our waters (both freshwater and coastal), the resources in the rohe (such as kai) and potentially innovating a common platform to bring these responsibilities together in a more coherent way.

On the matter of waters Ngā Wai o Maniapoto, We acknowledge representatives of Waikato and Te Tupua o Whanganui here today with whom we share a common cause. Our worldview seeks to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of wai and ensure that we, in our own rohe, are able to assert our commitment and responsibility to our waters. This is a conversation we are committed to and we will take forward our learning from the current arrangement in the upper Waipa.

There are some special and unique factors to our negotiations and we are encouraged that there is movement in relation to rail, setting aside Kawhia harbour, taking a special approach to Tokanui and committing to a purposeful conversation regarding Waikeria.

The speed of this part of the process has not in our viewed dimmed our ambition or intent to ensure that we have secured the important aspects of a settlement for the iwi, while keeping in mind that much of our ambition relies on other parties such as local government. We are keen to be at the forefront of that conversation to ensure that the localised benefits of our regional approach builds a wider community of support. We want to acknowledge Local Government leaders – Chair Alan Sampson and his Deputy who see the potential of a maturing relationship with Maniapoto.

Commercial redress opportunities can be an area to support this conversation and we will need to consider how our arrangements with Ministry of Business Innovation and Enterprise can support us. We do however have much of the current land investment of our people tied up in farming and if we (like the rest of NZ) are to seriously consider alternative uses for our tribal and maori owned lands, we are keen to develop stronger links across the Crown Research Institutes which for the most part has not been a feature of settlements. Minister we would like to be the first iwi to figure out how that can work for multiple benefits.

Alongside the financial redress package we believe that being smart to grow the settlement is absolutely necessary and we wondered whether a future conversation about an escrow arrangement might help our cause?

Lastly, these negotiations originated during the 1860s – 1880s when tupuna across te rohe potae, with Crown officials and to Parliament to seek justice for the undertakings that had never been upheld by the Crown. There have been ups and downs, and round and rounds, but now we are here. Our tupuna envisioned in a Kawenata they agreed to amongst themselves that Ngāti Maniapoto me ōna hapū maha needed to consolidate for the benefit of the next generation.

Our culture, our language, our identity, our worldview as Ngāti Maniapoto must be the enduring legacy in the weeks and months ahead as we move to the next stage. We want to thank your team of officials who have worked hard to get to this point also.

No reira, Tēnā koe, tēnā koutou.