Mana whenua consensus is that Ihumātao land be ‘given back’ to them

RNZ: Mana whenua reach decision on Ihumātao land

The Māori king, Kiingi Tūheitia, says mana whenua have finally reached consensus over what to do with Ihumātao – they want it back.

The announcement was made this morning, with Kiingi Tūheitia Potatau Te Wherowhero VII saying he had successfully guided mana whenua of Ihumātao to a unified position.

“Mana whenua agree they want their land returned, so they can make decisions about its future,” he said.

“Kiingitanga has conveyed the views of mana whenua to the government and urged it to negotiate with Fletchers for the return of Ihumātao to its rightful owners.”

Background:

The land near Auckland Airport has been occupied by members of the Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) group for almost three years to oppose Fletcher Residential from building 480 houses there.

But the occupation ramped up on 23 July after police served occupiers with an eviction notice. Since then thousands from across the country have flocked to the site and hundreds have camped there.

After growing public outcry, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stepped in and put a halt on development until a decision was reached about how to proceed.

The Kiingitanga initially signalled its support for the Fletcher development, having negotiated with Fletchers to return eight hectares of the 32-hectare site.

But on 3 August, Kiingi Tūheitia visited Ihumātao and invited all mana whenua to meet to find a solution. These hui excluded government officials and Fletcher development.

The consensus decision:

“Although the land has remained occupied, mana whenua representatives have engaged in good faith discussions under the cloak of Kiingitanga and have reached a unified position on Ihumātao.

“Mana whenua agreed the return of the land is outside of the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process and therefore requires an innovative and modern solution that does not financially disadvantage iwi.”

A major issues though is that a “innovative and modern solution” must contend with the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process, and there are risks with setting a precedent for making ad hoc additional settlements.

And:

The Crown confiscated the land from Māori in 1863, and it was sold to Fletchers in 2016. Typically, the government will not negotiate the return of land in Treaty settlement if it has moved into private ownership.

Some expect something out of the Government now:

Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare said now mana whenua had reached a decision it was time for everyone to sit around the table.

“From here on out, now the mahi starts, in terms of the government’s perspective,” he said.

And:

And Winston Peters:

However, when approached by reporters at parliament this afternoon, Mr Peters was dismissive of the role government had to play.

He said there had already been a Treaty settlement and that the issue was still in the hands of the Kiingitanga, not the government.

“There would have to be one extraordinarily high benchmark for the government to be involved and hitherto we do not see that benchmark,” he said.

More background (from weka at The Standard):

“It was confiscated under the New Zealand Settlements Act, thus breaching the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi agreement.”

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/395121/explainer-why-ihumatao-is-being-occupied-by-protectors

Confiscation was for rebelling, but,

“In 1927 a royal commission found that ‘a grave injustice was done’ to South Auckland Māori ‘by forcing them into the position of rebels and afterwards confiscating their lands’. In 1985 the Waitangi Tribunal concluded that ‘all sources agree that the Tainui people…never rebelled but were attacked by British troops in direct violation of Article II of the Treaty of Waitangi’”

https://thespinoff.co.nz/atea/27-07-2019/our-trail-of-tears-the-story-of-how-ihumatao-was-stolen/

From dukeofurl at The Standard:

Kawerau a maki  previously had a full and final  Treaty settlement that they signed

https://www.govt.nz/treaty-settlement-documents/te-kawerau-a-maki/te-kawerau-a-maki-deed-of-settlement-summary-22-feb-2014/

‘The Te Kawerau a Maki Deed of Settlement is the final settlement of all historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of Te Kawerau a Maki resulting from acts or omissions by the Crown prior to 21 September 1992′

KAM had a signed agreement with Fletchers over the land development which involved return of about  20% of the land ( next to the mountain) and a process for access to  some of the lower cost housing.

About 30 per cent would be “affordable”, including 40 homes (8 per cent) available to people who belong to the area’s whakapapa. Fletcher Building said it would develop a pathway to ownership programme to help Māori into homes. This may involve a shared equity-type scheme,..”

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/114776601/ihumtao-heres-what-fletcher-buildings-480-home-development-would-look-like

‘Innovative and Modern’ doesnt really cover walking away from 2  previous signed agreements.

As dukeofurl said, it’s  tricky one. And expectations are now that the trickiness appear to be now be pointing to the Government’s.

I saw someone say somewhere that Fletchers, the Government and Auckland City Council have plenty of money so between them they should gift the land to whoever is asking for it.

All three had been happy to convert some of the land to housing, and leave the land of most important historical significance undeveloped as a reserve.

The biggest problem probably is that if the land is gifted to those who have been protesting over the planned development, this will encourage more protests, more and occupations, and more demands that land be given to those who protest and demand.

Dealing with this will be a big challenge for Jacinda Ardern, as expectations have turned to her.

The Spinoff:  Mana whenua have agreed to keeping the land at Ihumātao. So what comes next?

Qiane Matata-Sipu, one of the founding members of SOUL, said that while she’s happy with the outcome for now, the fight’s not over.

“The reclamation continues. Even though we’ve come to a consensus, the whenua is not safe. The whenua is still owned by Fletcher… It’s now time for the government and Fletcher to work on how the land is going to be returned because that’s the expectation.”

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern paused construction on the site in late July after tensions between Fetcher, land protectors and police escalated. She said she was likely to visit the site, but didn’t want to intervene while discussions led by the Kiingitanga were underway.

Now those discussions are over, Ardern and her Labour-led government are being called on to negotiate a deal with Fletchers.

Ardern has just gone on a trip to Japan and then the US. She will have to face this when she returns.

Leave a comment

30 Comments

  1. Step one: Ardern sets up a working group
    Step two: Winston makes a decision
    Step Three Ardern: announces Winston’s decision as Labour policy

    Reply
    • Rather a amazingly Winston talked sense when interviewed on this on RNZ this morning.
      What with the weight loss, husky voice, got to wonder what they did with the real Winston Peters in the month they had him out of circulation.
      Not that we want him back!

      Reply
    • Duker

       /  19th September 2019

      Every government does working groups, reviews and consultations.
      The 2010 Tax Working Group famously was ignored over its land tax proposal.

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  19th September 2019

        I’m trying to work out why your bit of information gained a downtick.
        Because it is true? Because someone thinks the 2010 Tax Working Group’s report shouldn’t have been ignored? Because those who criticise the present Government for having working groups, reviews and consultations don’t like being reminded of history and reality?

        Reply
        • Kimbo

           /  19th September 2019

          …or maybe because, given the sheer weight of reviews in lieu of decisions by the current government (what were they doing for all those years in Opposition, btw? Not research or quality policy formulation…so maybe “nine years of inactivity” refers to their efforts in 2008-17 rather than National)

          …a 2010 Tax Working Group whataboutism in this context is false equivalency.

          Reply
  2. Gezza

     /  19th September 2019

    Bit of a minefield. I’m smiling at how, after all the korero & kai to this time with, the king announces that the iwi consensus is they want the land back.

    I imagine that that decision was the already the consensus before the hui got underway. Iwi & if necessary maybe the King now should really sit down with Fletchers & work it out with them. The signs were reasonably good that they were keen on reaching a satisfactory solution. Given the history cited above, though,

    I wouldn’t be too bothered if the government or council did step in & compensate Fletchers to facilitate the resolution & transfer of ownership, though. “Land in private ownership” in this case is not currently occupied by the owners – i.e. they’re not turfing someone out of a home that they purchased in good faith years ago.

    Reply
  3. Geoffrey

     /  19th September 2019

    So, the folk who sold the land to Fletchers did not own it? The settlement was not full and final. Tainui, with their own “king” were not in rebellion? Ihumatou was purchased from the wrong people? Another full and final will not set any precedent? The folk polishing the seats at the Tribunal must think it’s Christmas

    Reply
  4. Corky

     /  19th September 2019

    A classic example of why I say Maoridom is stuffed as a collective. The protesters have no mana in a classical tribal sense. They have defied decisions made by some elders.
    Add this to tribes not wanting to join in the Capt Cook celebrations and it’s obvious as a country we are divided more than ever. Something I have been saying all along.

    Off topic. I saw nothing on the news about the motel association women from Rotorua saying basically 75% of Housing NZ ( Kainga Ora) tenants housed in motels are trouble. And it’s no wonder they can’t get a house.

    Ah, the middleclass meets the reality of our feral underclass. Where are the Central Wellington liberals now that the shite has hit the fan?

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  19th September 2019

      I don’t know. I’ve done me best further up but I’m not really as liberal as I used to be & I’ve reached the age where I need to focus on now learning the skills to become a grumpy old man. Lurchy has the edge on me there.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  19th September 2019

        PS: As an afterthought, I think a lot of them are probably polllies & that they’ve all headed off to the UN General Assembly. I understand from 1news the other night that Ardern will be having a one-on-one “sit down” with Trump somewhere along the line, so no doubt he will be keenly uninterested in hearing what she has to say. 😐

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  19th September 2019

          🤔

          PPS: I hope MFAT have been over some risk management scenarios with Jacinda & given her a suggested script or couple of lines for what to say if Trump suddenly brain farts out an offer buy Stewart or one of two the big islands for a
          his Space Force or some other sea or air base.

          Judging by his Greenland brain fart he could be an absolute shit on Twitter if she doesn’t choose her words carefully when replying. 😐

          Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  19th September 2019

          I hope that she wears a suit of armour if she’s alone with him.

          Reply
  5. Than

     /  19th September 2019

    “As dukeofurl said, it’s tricky one.”

    No, it really isn’t. This boils down to a simple yes or no question – is the settlement signed between the Crown and Te Kawerau a Maki in 2015 meaningfully a full and final settlement? If any concessions are given to the occupiers then the answer to that is unequivocally No.

    This is not rocket science. If a settlement doesn’t actually settle anything, it’s pointless.

    Reply
  6. Duker

     /  19th September 2019

    “Qiane Matata-Sipu, one of the founding members of SOUL”

    Which goes to the heart of the issue is her wakapapa under her authors byline at The Spinoff
    https://thespinoff.co.nz/author/qiane-matata-sipu/
    Te Wai-o-hua, Waikato-Tainui

    The mana whenua of this location is Kawerau a Maki.

    te Wai-o-hua were the iwi for the isthmus before Ngati Whatua arrived, only parts remain with Ngati Te Ata at Waiuku and Ngati Te Akitai at Pukaki ( the other side of the airport)
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10666535

    Reply
    • Geoffrey

       /  19th September 2019

      When Ngati Whatua “arrived” did they seize the land by conquest? If so, how is Dosh from ewenme going to fix that?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  19th September 2019

        First, you give your dosh (assuming a net taxpayer), then that lot demands some of that dosh Jacinda gave to the other lot, or they occupy the land & stop anything happeni g with it until they do. And if they can’t sort it out, the King helps them reach a consensus?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  19th September 2019

          n

          Can someone pop that in before the g, line 3?
          Thanks. 👍🏼

          Reply
          • Geoffrey

             /  19th September 2019

            Oh of course! Silly me – its the dosh that’s the issue. Simple answer is to invite the folk who have the dosh, but shoudn’t, to give it to those who don’t have the dosh, but should. In the meantime, clear everybody out.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  19th September 2019

              The iwi just wants their wrongly confiscated land back.

              It’s Fletchers that will be out of pocket & need to be compensated by the Crown, unless the 3 parties can negotiate a mutually benficial arrangement where the iwi & Fletchers both come out in the money or not at a loss & where the govt manages to skip merrily into the sunset, Grant singing tra-la-la, with his fat wallet un-burgled & still bulging with election year vote-buying moolah.

              Clearing everybody out before they’re all happy with the final resolution sounds good when said in a huff but in practice it’d be an invitation for open season on more protest & argy bargy, wouldn’t it?

              Both hapu, or is it iwi? would have to reach agreement with each other as well as Fletchers on the deal. On some past performances, & thinking of Ngapuhi, there might be the rub. But it’s Fletchers that are going to have to decide what they want to do.

            • Geoffrey

               /  19th September 2019

              Nope. The crown settled with an iwi purporting to be the aggrieved party. Paying again is not the solution. That would be the start of a huge new (industrial level) problem.

            • Gezza

               /  19th September 2019

              Yup. So they say, & even I can see why. I dont’t really understand your reply “Simple answer is to invite the folk who have the dosh, but shoudn’t to give it to those who don’t have the dosh, but should”, above.

  7. lurcher1948

     /  19th September 2019

    you can take my land after you remove the weedeater from my cold dead…hands

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  19th September 2019

      Any man who isn’t in love with his weedeater, ain’t a real Kiwi man. You have gone up in my estimations, Lurchy. Incidentally, I have a 30cc Ryobi. What a baby. All looks and not much brains..but I love her.❤

      Reply
      • lurcher1948

         /  19th September 2019

        I love my lawn mower more…a mans lawnmower,grass shivers when I bring it out

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  19th September 2019

          Phsaw, Lurchy. How much of a real lawnmower can it be if it just lets you push it around any time you want to? 😐

          Reply
  8. Government has just announced the purchase of a heritage site:

    Other commentators have noticed the extraordinarily coincidental timing of the announcement that the Government had bought Kate Sheppard House in Christchurch for $4.5m. Of course that was timed for Suffrage Day but comparisons are hard to avoid. The Sheppard house has been accurately described as “an important heritage site for New Zealand and the world” and it is fitting that it remains in public ownership. But similar claims about heritage and historical value can as easily be made for Ihumātao.

    This will add weight to Government becoming directly involved in Ihumātao.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  20th September 2019

      Funny how news items dovetail conveniently when needed. A little like another report of sub standard fish oil products just when coverage of a new pharmaceutical tri-ingredient one pill supplement is being touted by media as a major advantage for peoples health.

      Reply

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