Hundreds of protesters are expected to march across Wairoa Bridge tomorrow.
The march is the third organised protest to show opposition to the government handing Bay of Plenty property rights to Waikato iwi, without consultation.
The Hauraki collective is claiming redress through Treaty of Waitangi claims over two areas in Tauranga Moana.
Tauranga Moana iwi are fighting a plan by the Office of Treaty Settlements to sign a deal that will give rights in Tauranga to a collection of Hauraki iwi.
Ngai Te Rangi chairman Charlie Tawhaio previously told SunLive the Hauraki iwi are using dubious history to establish ownership rights where they have only ever had interests through some shared histories, marriages, previous individual residences. Since 1840 there has been no presence on an iwi basis, says Charlie.
Chair of the Hauraki Collective Paul Majurey says Tauranga iwi leadership agreed to those parts of the Pare Hauraki collective Treaty settlement which they are now protesting against.
He says the negotiation team for Pare Hauraki - the 12 iwi of Hauraki - spent many months during 2012-2014 negotiating redress in the Tauranga harbour catchment area alongside leaders from Tauranga iwi.
“The Waitangi Tribunal's 2004 Tauranga Moana report confirmed the centuries old customary interests of Pare Hauraki in these areas. The Tribunal recognised the overlapping and shared interests between Pare Hauraki and Tauranga iwi. These findings have never been challenged by Tauranga iwi.
“Following this report, Treaty redress was negotiated and agreed between us. Pare Hauraki and Tauranga iwi, for example, agreed the split of Athenree Forest (60:40 in favour of Pare Hauraki) and an equal number of first right of refusal properties in the area between Athenree and Te Puna. There is extensive documentation of these negotiations [see photo].
“Yet, we are now being accused of being ‘foreigners'. It's strange that Tauranga iwi would spend years negotiating and reaching Treaty agreements with ‘outsiders' for areas well inside the Tauranga harbour catchment.
“Pare Hauraki are also being accused of trying to ‘take over' the harbour. This is a reference to the co-governance entity for the harbour and catchments – the Tauranga Moana Governance Group," says Paul.
“Pare Hauraki have one seat of 10 on this governance group. We will be there because of our customary interests – as recognised by the Waitangi Tribunal. Tauranga iwi leadership have known about our seat since 2014. They also knew this was the arrangement when they signed their collective settlement in 2015 which provided for this regime.
“To be now accused of secret deals, of being foreigners and of taking over Tauranga is as bizarre and insulting as it is wrong. Pare Hauraki are the target of a Tauranga iwi PR campaign against our Treaty settlements. They have incited ill-temper which could escalate if left unchecked.
“The evolving Tauranga iwi story now claims a tikanga process (doing what is right) is required and that Pare Hauraki has ‘interests' but not ‘rights'. Yet, throughout those 2012-14 joint negotiations, they recognised not only our interests but also our rights to Treaty redress.
“It is our tikanga to honour agreements. If that is not Tauranga's tikanga, no amount of talking on the marae will provide a solution.
“Whatever the authenticity of any interests/rights distinction, the complex and interwoven nature of customary interests is real. If the Treaty settlement process does not accommodate shared and overlapping interests, there would be no settlements in many parts of the country.
“Pare Hauraki has lost many of our old people since we began negotiations in 2009. It is a travesty they did not live to see what they put in motion. It is time for Tauranga iwi to shelve the PR stunts and honour their agreements. It is time for us to work together to protect the taonga to which we belong. It's time to settle.”
From 9am to 10am, buses will carry protesters from Maramatanga Park to Te Puna Station Rd bend, before the Hikoi departs at 10.30am.
Protesters are expected to arrive at Taniwha Place for a mass haka and speeches around 12.15pm.