Whakatōhea Pre-settlement entity failing the People

Mr Kiwara says claimants of a leading claim before the Waitangi Tribunal (Wai 87) have sent in evidence to outlining areas of an invalid Mandate Strategy that Whakatōhea Pre-settlement entity (PSE) is now trying to implement.

He says those that might have previously supported the PSE are now deserting in droves because they no longer have any confidence in the entity. There is disillusionment over the unique makeup of Whakatōhea especially in terms of hapū identity.

Te Ara Tono signed off in 2007 by hapū, marae and whanau agreed to a hapū driven process to guide the treaty claim process. This has largely been ignored by the PSE. The process is now been driven by an entity with an invalid Mandate.

Ngā Pou Mana o Te Whakatōhea has also been ignored by the PSE. The entity has replaced Rangatiratanga o Te Whakatōhea. The tangata whenua genuinely feel left out by an elitist organisation that advances its own concerns over the mana of the hapū. This is evidenced where the PSE does not adequately communicate with hapū.

Mr Kiwara adds that wairua and vitality is missing and the confidence of ngā hapū, marae and whanau in the PSE has diminished. The consequences of this dissatisfaction has tested the integrity of the PSE. The repercussions have started, witness in the low turnout of people supporting the current PSE roadshow meetings. Mr Kiwara says that this situation shows the PSE does not have the ability to get things done for Whakatōhea. Clearly, this is attributable to the absence of mauri leading to the PSE having no mana.

Evidence of this failure is that there is truly insufficient historical research which identifies the particular hapū grievances against the Crown and the PSE is consciously ignoring that.

Mr Kiwara says that ‘It’s time for the truth’. He is unequivocal that the Crown appears to be calling the shots. The question to ask is where is the crown positioned in this disarray? Are we getting led down a predetermined pathway? Or, has the coloniser return with the help of kupapa to effect an internal raupatu.

Some of us clearly remember the health, economic and education inequities suffered by Whakatōhea since the raupatu. I am talking about social deprivation that still permeates through ngā hapū today. Let alone the cultural deprivation that some hapū have suffered from others. Add to the lack of intellectual capacity demonstrated by the PSE we have a stark future ahead. We have also experienced repression by crown agents and it is still going on today.

It’s obvious, eliminate inequality and we will get rid of poverty which is still being experienced today by whanau. But we are still endangered by entities who are causing the inequities through their practice – the PSE and the Crown. Moreover, it breaches several UN Human Rights instruments including UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). We should have learnt this lesson in 1995.

Mr Kiwara points out that there are other ramifications for tangata whenua caused by the practices of the PSE. Where is the equity for excellence for beneficiaries? Let alone the moral obligation. The lack of cultural responsiveness by the PSE is odd – this should happen automatically to our own. It is not only disrespectful, but more importantly it’s our tamariki and mokopuna futures that is at stake.

The PSE through process has exposed tangata whenua to inequities that we do not want to return to. Situations we do not want our tamariki and mokopuna to be brought up and experience social, cultural and educational deprivation.

The elephant in the room is indeed the Crown. The crown is determined to provide a pathway for claim settlement even though the mandate is invalid. Mr Kiwara says it’s time for all hapū, marae and whanau within Whakatōhea to take back control of our treaty claim. It is mandatory for hapū to vision futures for tamariki and mokopuna, not iwi. Not only is it a duty but more importantly a moral obligation.