‘Not part of another group’

Iwi claims Mangatu forest lands ‘in its own right’.

Iwi claims Mangatu forest lands ‘in its own right’.

TAKING THE STAND: Dave Hawea of Te Whanau a Kai delivers his evidence to the Waitangi Tribunal in the latest hearing of the Mangatu remedies claim for the return of Mangatu Crown forest lands. Picture by Paul Rickard

Te Whanau a Kai say part of the Mangatu Crown forest should be returned to them, as an iwi in their own right and not under the banner of another tribal group.

The iwi gave evidence on their claim to the Waitangi Tribunal over the past two days at the latest Mangatu remedies hearing in Gisborne.

Te Whanau a Kai is one of six claimant groups who are claiming for the return of the land and compensation for historical grievances with the Crown —including loss of land, life and rights.

Counsel for Te Whanau a Kai Amberley James said part of the Mangatu Crown forest should be returned to the iwi.

“Te Whanau a Kai have suffered significant prejudice. It is a distinct prejudice.

“The actions of the Crown left Te Whanau a Kai landless, leaderless and the male population were exiled (to the Chatham Islands with Te Kooti in 1866).

Customary interests throughout the Turanga region for Te Whanau a Kai included the Mangatu Crown forest, she said.

Amberley James said Te Whanau a Kai refuted that any other group had the mandate to act on their behalf.

This was in reference to an offer made by Te Aitanga a Mahaki Trust to put the interests of Mahaki and other claimant groups, including Te Whanau a Kai, under one umbrella.

“Te Whanau a Kai do not deny links to Mahaki,” she said.

“They say they did not acquire Mangatu interests through Mahaki ancestry, but through the marriages (of Kaikoreaunei) to wives and their Ngariki ancestry (the original settlers of the Mangatu region).”

She likened their application to the Mangatu Crown forest blocks as a “CFL (Crown forest land) Pie”.

“Te Whanau a Kai have a right to a slice of that pie, not just a bite of someone else’s. Or worse, the scraps that are left behind.”

“Te Whanau a Kai say, that at least part of the Mangatu Crown forest be returned to them.

“The Tribunal must make a decision, difficult as it may be.”

Dave Hawea, of Te Whanau a Kai, gave evidence on Tuesday, and said his iwi were the “biggest losers of land in the Turanga area”.

“That describes us right to a T,” he said.

“It seems as though this might be our only opportunity to obtain a remedy for what has been acknowledged as distinct Te Whanau a Kai claims, and claims that include — that this Tribunal called — one of the ‘worst abuses of law and human rights in New Zealand’s colonial history’, as well as other grievances including raupatu (theft of Maori land),” his evidence read.

“The Tribunal in the Turanga report noted that Te Whanau a Kai suffered the greatest land loss of the Turanga groups.

“It also noted that Te Whanau a Kai has suffered significant prejudice through the confiscation of large areas of land, including economically- important land.”

Mr Hawea acknowledged that the sub-tribes of Mahaki — Wahia and Taupara — did have an interest, but not the Mahaki iwi at large.

“Technically, Te Whanau a Kai are not in the Mangatu blocks, but Te Whanau a Kai are Ngariki.

“We say Mahaki are not in Mangatu whatsoever.

“Customary rights to Mangatu originated in and were held under Ngariki mana whenua, and Te Whanau a Kai’s connection and customary rights to Mangatu comes through our Ngariki whakapapa.

“This is reflected in the large number of Te Whanau a Kai people who were placed in the owners’ lists for the Mangatu block.”

Mr Hawea made it clear that Te Whanau a Kai did not see themselves as part of a ‘Mahaki’ group.

“Mahaki were wanting to take over our claim. It is absolutely not the case that Te Whanau a kai are merely a subdivision or section of a wider entity of Mahaki.

“In fact, Te Whanau a Kai are a large and historic entity in their own right, as early maps of the Turanga region show clearly.”

Tim Castle, of the Waitangi Tribunal, said it was clear there were multiple groups that claimed this particular forest.

“This is one of the most difficult issues of this inquiry. At some point there has to be some form of allocation, if there is more than one group entitled.

“Whether that’s by the Tribunal or for the claimants to sort out, some sort of allocation will have to be made.”

Te Whanau a Kai say part of the Mangatu Crown forest should be returned to them, as an iwi in their own right and not under the banner of another tribal group.

The iwi gave evidence on their claim to the Waitangi Tribunal over the past two days at the latest Mangatu remedies hearing in Gisborne.

Te Whanau a Kai is one of six claimant groups who are claiming for the return of the land and compensation for historical grievances with the Crown —including loss of land, life and rights.

Counsel for Te Whanau a Kai Amberley James said part of the Mangatu Crown forest should be returned to the iwi.

“Te Whanau a Kai have suffered significant prejudice. It is a distinct prejudice.

“The actions of the Crown left Te Whanau a Kai landless, leaderless and the male population were exiled (to the Chatham Islands with Te Kooti in 1866).

Customary interests throughout the Turanga region for Te Whanau a Kai included the Mangatu Crown forest, she said.

Amberley James said Te Whanau a Kai refuted that any other group had the mandate to act on their behalf.

This was in reference to an offer made by Te Aitanga a Mahaki Trust to put the interests of Mahaki and other claimant groups, including Te Whanau a Kai, under one umbrella.

“Te Whanau a Kai do not deny links to Mahaki,” she said.

“They say they did not acquire Mangatu interests through Mahaki ancestry, but through the marriages (of Kaikoreaunei) to wives and their Ngariki ancestry (the original settlers of the Mangatu region).”

She likened their application to the Mangatu Crown forest blocks as a “CFL (Crown forest land) Pie”.

“Te Whanau a Kai have a right to a slice of that pie, not just a bite of someone else’s. Or worse, the scraps that are left behind.”

“Te Whanau a Kai say, that at least part of the Mangatu Crown forest be returned to them.

“The Tribunal must make a decision, difficult as it may be.”

Dave Hawea, of Te Whanau a Kai, gave evidence on Tuesday, and said his iwi were the “biggest losers of land in the Turanga area”.

“That describes us right to a T,” he said.

“It seems as though this might be our only opportunity to obtain a remedy for what has been acknowledged as distinct Te Whanau a Kai claims, and claims that include — that this Tribunal called — one of the ‘worst abuses of law and human rights in New Zealand’s colonial history’, as well as other grievances including raupatu (theft of Maori land),” his evidence read.

“The Tribunal in the Turanga report noted that Te Whanau a Kai suffered the greatest land loss of the Turanga groups.

“It also noted that Te Whanau a Kai has suffered significant prejudice through the confiscation of large areas of land, including economically- important land.”

Mr Hawea acknowledged that the sub-tribes of Mahaki — Wahia and Taupara — did have an interest, but not the Mahaki iwi at large.

“Technically, Te Whanau a Kai are not in the Mangatu blocks, but Te Whanau a Kai are Ngariki.

“We say Mahaki are not in Mangatu whatsoever.

“Customary rights to Mangatu originated in and were held under Ngariki mana whenua, and Te Whanau a Kai’s connection and customary rights to Mangatu comes through our Ngariki whakapapa.

“This is reflected in the large number of Te Whanau a Kai people who were placed in the owners’ lists for the Mangatu block.”

Mr Hawea made it clear that Te Whanau a Kai did not see themselves as part of a ‘Mahaki’ group.

“Mahaki were wanting to take over our claim. It is absolutely not the case that Te Whanau a kai are merely a subdivision or section of a wider entity of Mahaki.

“In fact, Te Whanau a Kai are a large and historic entity in their own right, as early maps of the Turanga region show clearly.”

Tim Castle, of the Waitangi Tribunal, said it was clear there were multiple groups that claimed this particular forest.

“This is one of the most difficult issues of this inquiry. At some point there has to be some form of allocation, if there is more than one group entitled.

“Whether that’s by the Tribunal or for the claimants to sort out, some sort of allocation will have to be made.”

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