Will Waitangi Tribunal recognise Ngāpuhi sovereignty?

Hearings for Te Paparahi o Te Raki kicked off another session today
in Whangarei for the WAI1040 claimants. The Waitangi Tribunal returned to their chairs to consider
the Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Waitangi
for Ngapuhi, and if Ngapuhi will have
their sovereignty recognised. Peata Melbourne
was at day one of the hearings. Ngapuhi claims their sovereignty was not given up
in their signing of the Treaty, and the Waitangi Tribunal
is back to continue investigations. At the end of the process we hope to have gained some benefits for our people. But day one’s evidence
highlighting iwi ties to land are less than simplistic. There are varying versions
of which sub-tribes have ties here, but we know the genealogical ties so we know exactly
who’s connected here and where. Three years on and the country’s
largest tribe are back, this time in Whangarei
to give evidence. It was estimated that these hearings
would last five years and will serve
a serious precedence for all Maori if the tribunal recognises
Ngapuhi sovereignty. But it’s ultimately
the Government they say needs convincing
of the tribal history. That’s where our pain lies,
with the Government. So yesterday we performed
our song ‘Tekau Ma Wha’ that talks of how our elders
negated their stance during their time. All up there are around 300
individual claims to be heard before the Tribunal, and it’s been an exhausting journey
for all involved. There’s a lot of pressure. We’re here trying to organise
ourselves for this week and it’s been tough. So I feel for all of our elderly. These hearings are scheduled
to finish at the end of this week. Peata Melbourne, Te Karere.

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