The weeks leading into the election saw massive pressure being applied by the Crown to test how firmly Ngāi Te Rangi would hold to its position which challenges Crown redress offered to the Pare Hauraki Collective in Tauranga Moana. The Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations took the position that Ngāi Te Rangi should concede otherwise he would sign the Hauraki Collective Deed of Settlement anyway.
Ngāi Te Rangi did not concede and threatened further protests against the Crown if we were not allowed the time and respect to pursue tikanga-based discussions with iwi that claim overlapping interests. This led to the Minister backing down from his threat to sign.
Post-election, we find that the Government is in limbo and the political landscape is uncertain. If a National Government is formed with NZ First we are anticipating that the Crown will want to rush through the process and finalise the settlements despite our position. If Labour forms a government there is the potential that the new Minister may take a different more conciliatory approach.
Whatever happens, Ngāi Te Rangi is using this time to solidify its position and to explore new opportunities to achieve its goal to protect Ngāi Te Rangi mana whenua. For example, we will continue to strengthen our relationships with iwi that are experiencing similar issues to us with the Hauraki Collective overlapping claims, such as Ngāti Whatua and Ngāti Wai. We will also continue to engage with individual Hauraki iwi, such as Ngāti Porou ki Hauraki who met with us at Otawhiwhi Marae in August, and more recently Ngāti Paoa who met with Tauranga Moana iwi representatives at Whetu o Te Rangi Marae on 17 October 2017. The Ngāti Paoa meeting was positive as they confirmed that they were not seeking interests in Tauranga Moana.
There will be a future meeting with Ngāti Paoa with an open invite to all Ngāi Te Rangi at a date to be confirmed to enter into a kawenata which will recognise who Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Paoa are and how we want to relate to each other in the future.
Tikanga-based discussions are our preferred way to resolve the current disputes arising out of the Crown’s treaty settlement agenda. Failing willing tikanga engagement by Hauraki iwi, Ngāi Te Rangi will continue to advocate with Ministers, MPs, the Office of Treaty Settlements and local government to protect Ngāi Te Rangi mana whenua from being undermined.
There are a lot of people working very hard in many different ways to drive off this threat. We have a clear strategy and we are also having to be flexible as the situation changes constantly. The involvement of large numbers of people in protests and social media has made a huge difference in how the Crown is relating to Ngāi Te Rangi, and we may call on people to get directly involved at any time.
Te Rangihouhiri began his journey from Whāngārā to Hakurānui to Whakapau Kōrero to Pōporohuamea where he died. Following his death and after many significant battles, his descendants who became known as Ngāi Te Rangi settled in Tauranga Moana.