Deed of agreement close to bill stage

Tolaga Bay
PROGRESS ON THE DEED: Matanuku Mahuika says the amendments to the Nga Hapu o Ngati Porou Foreshore and Seabed Deed of Agreement 2008, soon to begin the next process, is about protecting the legal position of hapu in respect to customary rights. File pictures

FORTY-seven of 49 hapu here have ratified and signed amendments to the Nga Hapu o Ngati Porou Foreshore and Seabed Deed of Agreement 2008 and it will soon be introduced into Parliament to begin the next process of the Nga Rohe o Nga Hapu o Ngati Porou Act coming into effect.

Te Rungananui o Ngati Porou director and Ngati Porou holding company chairman Matanuku Mahuika told Radio Ngati Porou 49 hapu have had hui to consider ratification.

“Representatives from 47 have signed and the two that did not are Te Whanau-a-te-Ao and Te Whanau-a-Rua.”

In order to progress things before the election, the deed to amend has been signed on behalf of the 47 hapu and is with the Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and the Minister of Maori Development to sign.

“I understand one minister has signed and I expect that the other will sign in the next day or two. The next step is to get the bill approved by Cabinet for introduction into Parliament before the election.”

Mr Mahuika said the door remained open for the hapu who had not ratified. Eight hapu still had not had hui to consider the amended deed.

“The opportunity is still there. The process has taken a long time and some hapu have ratified at the start of the year. Because so many had ratified, we thought the proper thing to do was to proceed and get the deed to amend signed, leaving the door open for those who are still to decide.”

Te Whanau-a-te-Ao and Te Whanau-a-Rua could always come back in if they wanted. If they chose not to sign, he could not say what would happen next.

“They would have to work things out with their boundary neighbours. We would have to work through the process. The rest is in the hands of the hapu and what they think is the best thing to do.”

“No one has to sign but we think it is good for the hapu in terms of the protection of their seabed and foreshore interests.”

“The other two hapu have another pathway. I don’t know what that is but we respect it.”

Once the Ngati Porou Seabed and Foreshore deed was enacted, all of the trusts set up to administer the hapu foreshore and seabed rights under the deed had been established now (at least for the hapu party to the deed).

Exercising their rights

“Once the legislation is passed, they will be able to exercise those rights. So where we have been able to establish customary title and are in the future able to establish customary title, they will have the rights to exercise permission rights. So any resource consents that people might seek in that area, require the consent of the hapu before the council has the jurisdiction to consider them.

“Fisheries management committees will be recognised, hapu will have some regulation and bylaw-making powers, which will have to kick in fairly quickly to complete the customary fishing regulations for the hapu.

“The hapu will have to work out how to use the funding the crown has agreed to provide to assist with hapu exercising their rights of the deed — that is $15million-odd paid out once the legislation has passed.”

Mr Mahuika said hopefully we would not see big changes.

“What this is about, is protecting the legal position of the hapu in respect to customary rights. The hapu will continue to do the same sorts of things — the difference is they will have financial support and support of the law in enforcing some of their rights over their customary kaimoana.”

Mr Mahuika said it was hard to say how long the process would take because of the election.

If it was a National-led Government, he expected it would proceed “fairly quickly”.

“If not, there is always uncertainty as you work through the process when working with a new Government — they like to put their brand on things.”

“I would like to think that if it is a Labour-led coalition, given that we started this process all those years ago with Dr Michael Cullen and they signed the original deed in 2008 with Labour, that they will be true to those commitments that were made and give effect to the bill.

“Our message has been consistent — hapu have always taken the view that Takutai Moana is an area over which they have always exercised mana. That was recognised by Labour when Dr Cullen signed the deed. National have continued to recognise it and with the passing of the new act in 2011, they strengthened our hand a bit from a legal point of view.”

He hoped the politicans would do what they had been committed to do for 15-16 years.

FORTY-seven of 49 hapu here have ratified and signed amendments to the Nga Hapu o Ngati Porou Foreshore and Seabed Deed of Agreement 2008 and it will soon be introduced into Parliament to begin the next process of the Nga Rohe o Nga Hapu o Ngati Porou Act coming into effect.

Te Rungananui o Ngati Porou director and Ngati Porou holding company chairman Matanuku Mahuika told Radio Ngati Porou 49 hapu have had hui to consider ratification.

“Representatives from 47 have signed and the two that did not are Te Whanau-a-te-Ao and Te Whanau-a-Rua.”

In order to progress things before the election, the deed to amend has been signed on behalf of the 47 hapu and is with the Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and the Minister of Maori Development to sign.

“I understand one minister has signed and I expect that the other will sign in the next day or two. The next step is to get the bill approved by Cabinet for introduction into Parliament before the election.”

Mr Mahuika said the door remained open for the hapu who had not ratified. Eight hapu still had not had hui to consider the amended deed.

“The opportunity is still there. The process has taken a long time and some hapu have ratified at the start of the year. Because so many had ratified, we thought the proper thing to do was to proceed and get the deed to amend signed, leaving the door open for those who are still to decide.”

Te Whanau-a-te-Ao and Te Whanau-a-Rua could always come back in if they wanted. If they chose not to sign, he could not say what would happen next.

“They would have to work things out with their boundary neighbours. We would have to work through the process. The rest is in the hands of the hapu and what they think is the best thing to do.”

“No one has to sign but we think it is good for the hapu in terms of the protection of their seabed and foreshore interests.”

“The other two hapu have another pathway. I don’t know what that is but we respect it.”

Once the Ngati Porou Seabed and Foreshore deed was enacted, all of the trusts set up to administer the hapu foreshore and seabed rights under the deed had been established now (at least for the hapu party to the deed).

Exercising their rights

“Once the legislation is passed, they will be able to exercise those rights. So where we have been able to establish customary title and are in the future able to establish customary title, they will have the rights to exercise permission rights. So any resource consents that people might seek in that area, require the consent of the hapu before the council has the jurisdiction to consider them.

“Fisheries management committees will be recognised, hapu will have some regulation and bylaw-making powers, which will have to kick in fairly quickly to complete the customary fishing regulations for the hapu.

“The hapu will have to work out how to use the funding the crown has agreed to provide to assist with hapu exercising their rights of the deed — that is $15million-odd paid out once the legislation has passed.”

Mr Mahuika said hopefully we would not see big changes.

“What this is about, is protecting the legal position of the hapu in respect to customary rights. The hapu will continue to do the same sorts of things — the difference is they will have financial support and support of the law in enforcing some of their rights over their customary kaimoana.”

Mr Mahuika said it was hard to say how long the process would take because of the election.

If it was a National-led Government, he expected it would proceed “fairly quickly”.

“If not, there is always uncertainty as you work through the process when working with a new Government — they like to put their brand on things.”

“I would like to think that if it is a Labour-led coalition, given that we started this process all those years ago with Dr Michael Cullen and they signed the original deed in 2008 with Labour, that they will be true to those commitments that were made and give effect to the bill.

“Our message has been consistent — hapu have always taken the view that Takutai Moana is an area over which they have always exercised mana. That was recognised by Labour when Dr Cullen signed the deed. National have continued to recognise it and with the passing of the new act in 2011, they strengthened our hand a bit from a legal point of view.”

He hoped the politicans would do what they had been committed to do for 15-16 years.

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