Waka on Tauranga Moana on Saturday signals the signing of an agreement between Waikato and Western Bay of Plenty iwi, following turbulent times earlier this year.
Diplomacy has settled a dispute over a land-grab by Waikato iwi using the treaty settlement process.
The largest iwi in the Hauraki Collective Ngati Paoa is signing a ‘Mana Enhancing Declaration’ that clarifies the rights dispute in Tauranga Moana.
The signing signals a resetting of the relationship between Auckland and Hauraki iwi Ngati Paoa and the Tauranga iwi Ngai Te Rangi and Ngati Ranginui.
This follows tension between the collective of 12 Hauraki iwi, known as the Hauraki Collective, over what Tauranga iwi deemed to be an attempt by the Collective to expand their footprint by claiming rights in the Tauranga area where they have not traditionally lived.
Ngati Paoa, the largest iwi in the Hauraki Collective, became unhappy that the actions of the Collective disturbed friendly relations between iwi and is moving to ensure more traditional methods of interaction and dispute resolution are returned to, says Ngai Te Rangi Chairman, Charlie Tawhiao.
Tauranga iwi are very impressed with Ngati Paoa for the actions they are taking and for the mana enhancing pathway they have set in place, says Charlie.
“This is the way that iwi should be dealing with each other, with honesty, integrity and with good intent for each other.
“In cross claims processes we have reached the end of the usefulness of the legal process that is by nature adversarial and able to be misused. From here we need traditional systems of dispute resolution to take over, which are based on respect for the mana of each iwi or hapu and for the people within those groups who are our whanaunga, our relations.”
Discussion on marae is not an add-on to some other process, says Charlie.
“For hundreds of years, marae have been the centre of tribal diplomacy so it’s vital those tried and true processes are used.
“We need to recognise the legal processes should be there to support what comes out of discussion on marae, not dictate whether we can speak to each other.
“It would be useful for Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little and officers of the Crown to be watching this resetting of relationships.
“If the blinkers could come off and they could see that tikanga is grounded in centuries of common sense and practical techniques for dispute resolution, then they might realise problems created by the Crown’s cross claims process can be more successfully addressed through an existing traditional system.”
The signing of the declaration and exchange of Tatau Pounamu takes place on the Maungatapu Marae about 10am.
The diplomatic efforts followed protests earlier this year when members of the Tauranga iwi blockaded the harbour entrance on June 17 and a month later closed down the Wairoa bridge with a protest March.
The intent was to draw attention to the signing of a deal between the Crown and the Hauraki Collective assigning rights in the Western Bay of Plenty. The Crown denied the deal was set, but leaked internal emails showed otherwise, says Charlie.
The agreement sets out the way the iwi intend to deal with each other that is based on respect for tikanga and the mana of each other.