‘Memorialising the past’

Final claimant group outlines its position to tribunal.

Final claimant group outlines its position to tribunal.

Memorialising the history of iwi and rangatira of the early colonial period is an integral part of reconciliation of Treaty of Waitangi breaches made by the Crown.

That was the call of iwi claimant group Rangiwhakataetaea/Wi Haronga/Ngati Matepu at the Waitangi Tribunal hearing of the Mangatu remedies claim in Gisborne this week.

The group was the final claimant to take the stand in a bid for the return of Mangatu Crown forest lands and compensation.

The other claimant groups are Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Te Whanau a Kai, Ngariki Kaiputahi, Nga Ariki Kaiputahi (separate to the prior group) and Mangatu Incorporation.

Counsel for Rangiwhakataetaea/Wi Haronga/Ngati Matepu, John Kahukiwa, said the role of this Tribunal was to reveal the truth through examining the history and, by the findings of fact, to then help facilitate reconciliation.

“How can that be done?” he asked.

“This case would emphasise that memorialising the history of the past is really important.”

Mr Kahukiwa likened his claimants’ bid to an analogy of dying three times.

“The first is the awareness of physical death, the second is actual death and the third is when your name is said for the very last time.

“This case has been really focused on saying ‘Rangiwhakataetaea/Wi Haronga/Ngati Matepu’ so their names are not said for the last time.

“This is well known in whakapapa, but is also a universal, human concept.

“It gives us identity and meaning. It is very important that this tribunal has done a really important job in ensuring these things are memorialised.”

Another way that reconciliation could be facilitated was through reparation and compensation by the Crown that must see a better way forward for iwi, said Mr Kahukiwa.

“Also that this process achieves an overall sense of justice. That’s really important.

“If there’s a wrong, then the objective is to correct it or right it.

“There should be a specific and tangible remedy or reparation or compensation.

“The interest of Rangiwhakataetaea/Wi Haronga/Ngati Matepu is that they assert a right in this whenua, to this land, through two key institutions which are expressed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi — rangatira (chiefly lineage) and its extension tino rangatiratanga, and hapu.

“Rangiwhakataetaea/Wi Haronga are the rangatira, and Ngati Matepu is the hapu.

“It is through these institutions that puts them into this land called Mangatu.”

But what did the recipient of this whenua look like, Mr Kahukiwa asked.

“This case says it is better at its optimum for it to be a purpose-built entity (that would include a number of the claimants).

“This case does not support Te Aitanga a Mahaki Trust taking that role. This case prefers a purpose-built trust based on ‘take tipuna’ (derived from the ancestry) of Ngariki and or Wahia lineage, which seems to be common ground.

“For this interest to be omitted or to be reduced in its interest by having to advance or enjoy that interest through somebody else, is not what is asked for.

“This interest seeks to be an integral part of this recipient body and that is primarily because of the history and the rights arising in relation to that history, and because it is just to do so.”

Tim Castle, of the tribunal, acknowledged the concept of “memorialising the past”.

“The past is a taonga. We want to cherish the past, not abandon the past.

“I have recognised the mauri (life force) of what you have said.”

Memorialising the history of iwi and rangatira of the early colonial period is an integral part of reconciliation of Treaty of Waitangi breaches made by the Crown.

That was the call of iwi claimant group Rangiwhakataetaea/Wi Haronga/Ngati Matepu at the Waitangi Tribunal hearing of the Mangatu remedies claim in Gisborne this week.

The group was the final claimant to take the stand in a bid for the return of Mangatu Crown forest lands and compensation.

The other claimant groups are Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Te Whanau a Kai, Ngariki Kaiputahi, Nga Ariki Kaiputahi (separate to the prior group) and Mangatu Incorporation.

Counsel for Rangiwhakataetaea/Wi Haronga/Ngati Matepu, John Kahukiwa, said the role of this Tribunal was to reveal the truth through examining the history and, by the findings of fact, to then help facilitate reconciliation.

“How can that be done?” he asked.

“This case would emphasise that memorialising the history of the past is really important.”

Mr Kahukiwa likened his claimants’ bid to an analogy of dying three times.

“The first is the awareness of physical death, the second is actual death and the third is when your name is said for the very last time.

“This case has been really focused on saying ‘Rangiwhakataetaea/Wi Haronga/Ngati Matepu’ so their names are not said for the last time.

“This is well known in whakapapa, but is also a universal, human concept.

“It gives us identity and meaning. It is very important that this tribunal has done a really important job in ensuring these things are memorialised.”

Another way that reconciliation could be facilitated was through reparation and compensation by the Crown that must see a better way forward for iwi, said Mr Kahukiwa.

“Also that this process achieves an overall sense of justice. That’s really important.

“If there’s a wrong, then the objective is to correct it or right it.

“There should be a specific and tangible remedy or reparation or compensation.

“The interest of Rangiwhakataetaea/Wi Haronga/Ngati Matepu is that they assert a right in this whenua, to this land, through two key institutions which are expressed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi — rangatira (chiefly lineage) and its extension tino rangatiratanga, and hapu.

“Rangiwhakataetaea/Wi Haronga are the rangatira, and Ngati Matepu is the hapu.

“It is through these institutions that puts them into this land called Mangatu.”

But what did the recipient of this whenua look like, Mr Kahukiwa asked.

“This case says it is better at its optimum for it to be a purpose-built entity (that would include a number of the claimants).

“This case does not support Te Aitanga a Mahaki Trust taking that role. This case prefers a purpose-built trust based on ‘take tipuna’ (derived from the ancestry) of Ngariki and or Wahia lineage, which seems to be common ground.

“For this interest to be omitted or to be reduced in its interest by having to advance or enjoy that interest through somebody else, is not what is asked for.

“This interest seeks to be an integral part of this recipient body and that is primarily because of the history and the rights arising in relation to that history, and because it is just to do so.”

Tim Castle, of the tribunal, acknowledged the concept of “memorialising the past”.

“The past is a taonga. We want to cherish the past, not abandon the past.

“I have recognised the mauri (life force) of what you have said.”

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