Iwi protest over land own­er­ship

Waihi Leader - - News - By MELANIE CAMOIN news@wai­hileader.co.nz

More than 200 de­scen­dants of Nga¯i Te Rangi and other Tau­ranga iwi gath­ered on the Tau­ranga side of the bound­ary at the Athen­ree rest area last Wed­nes­day to as­sert their ahi kaa [own­er­ship] over the Tau­ranga Moana, in­clud­ing Katikati and Te Puna.

Or­gan­iser Mere­maihi Aloua says it was a peace­ful protest where host hapu¯ Ta­mawhar­iua, Piri­rakau and Tauwhao were giv­ing ko¯rero [speeches] of the his­tory of the area.

The de­scen­dants gath­ered at dawn to watch the sun­rise around the sig­nif­i­cant site of Puke­tuki.

“When [Pare]Hau­raki raids oc­curred in pre­vi­ous cen­turies, if caught, the at­tack­ers would have their heads cut off and placed them on poles on Puke­tuki as a warn­ing to oth­ers not to come back, hence the name Puke­tuki,” Nga¯i Te Rangi Iwi spokesman Del Car­lini.

But the Hau­raki Col­lec­tive, which in­cludes 12 iwi of Hau­raki, say the West­ern Bay ter­ri­tory is also theirs.

“The Treaty claims of Pare Hau­raki were lodged with the Wai­tangi Tri­bunal from the 1980s.

“As the [Wai­tangi Tri­bunal] Tri­bunal re­port shows, there is a very long his­tory of Pare Hau­raki in and around the Te Puna and Katikati Blocks. Sadly, some like to sug­gest we want to “occupy” Tau­ranga. This is op­po­si­tion of des­per­a­tion,” spokesman Paul Ma­jurey says.

Mere­maihi Aloua says Iwi of Tau­ranga will hold the fort.

“We have held ahi kaa over this area for gen­er­a­tions. This is not a new bat­tle. But this is our turn now. This area is of huge sig­nif­i­cance to us,” she says.

She says the protest is just the be­gin­ning, and if the min­is­ter of Treaty Ne­go­ti­a­tions Andrew Lit­tle signs the Hau­raki deal, he will be tak­ing Tau­ranga iwi to war.

“Tikanga [cor­rect prac­tice, cus­toms] must hap­pen be­fore the sign­ing, not after the sign­ing as the min­is­ter is propos­ing.

“Our calls for tikanga are be­ing de­clined so we have no op­tion but to take th­ese mea­sures now.”

Tau­ranga iwi say that not having tikanga is un­der­min­ing dis­cus­sion and Ma¯ori tra­di­tions.

“Gath­er­ing in each other’s marae to talk about this is­sue is tra­di­tional and not agree­ing to do this is un­der­min­ing this tra­di­tional struc­ture.

“The [Hau­raki] Col­lec­tive seems to stick to west­ern law but it can­not claim the Tau­ranga Moana on this ba­sis,” Del says.

But the Hau­raki Col­lec­tive says it has been open to dis­cus­sion with the Tau­ranga Moana.

“Last year, Pare Hau­raki agreed to face-to-face talks with Nga¯i Te Rangi — after they de­cided to chal­lenge Hau­raki’s re­dress in the KatikatiTau­ranga area, which they had pre­vi­ously agreed to and achieved their own set­tle­ment on the ba­sis of that agree­ment.

“Having re­quested dia­logue, Nga¯i Te Rangi then uni­lat­er­ally pulled out of those talks.

“Nga¯i Te Rangi now ac­cuse Pare Hau­raki of not be­ing pre­pared to en­ter talks. That is wrong,” Paul says.

Iwi of Tau­ranga say they are gear­ing up for long-term ac­tions.

PHO­TOS / SUPPLIED.

Ngati Pukenga kau­matua John Ohia talks about this sup­port for protest against the in­cur­sion by the Hau­raki Col­lec­tive into Tau­ranga.

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