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