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Waitangi Tribunal recommends that the Ngāti Kahungunu Settlement does not go ahead

The Waitangi Tribunal sat under urgency on 11-12 November 2021 to hear applications from Rangitāne, Wairarapa Moana Incorporation, and Ngāi Tūmapūhia-ā-Rangi in relation to the Deed of Settlement recently signed by the Crown and the Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui-ā-Rua Settlement Trust.

The Waitangi Tribunal was asked to review the Crown’s actions in failing to engage with Rangitāne regarding the additional redress at Wairarapa Moana and the Ruamahanga River, and breaches of its commitments to Rangitāne and our Deed of Settlement.

The Waitangi Tribunal released its Report on 18 November 2021 and upheld the Rangitāne claims.  The Tribunal’s key findings for Rangitāne are:

  • The Crown failed in its Treaty duty of good faith to Rangitāne – it did not continue to negotiate with them about Wairarapa Moana in good faith as required by clause 7.6 of the Rangitāne Deed of Settlement.
  • The Crown breached the principle of whanaungatanga – knowing the nature of the engagement and relationships between the two groups in the past, and the Crown’s historical errors putting Rangitāne interests under those of Ngāti Kahungunu, the Crown should have taken active steps to ensure that the relationship between them was not harmed by its approach to shared or joint redress.  It failed to do that.

Given the above findings, the Waitangi Tribunal recommended that the Crown:

  • Pauses the introduction of settlement legislation now to take steps to rectify its Treaty breaches around the joint redress concerning Wairarapa Moana and the Ruamahanga River.
  • Helps Rangitāne and Ngāti Kahungunu to work together to ensure that the further redress and processes do not jeopardise relationship, and to do so before any matters are concluded about redress concerning Wairarapa Moana and the Ruamahanga River.
  • Reimburses Rangitāne for the costs of this urgent claim and the related application for urgency.

This outcome comes following considerable effort from the Trust to engage with the Crown and avoid being in this position, unfortunately it reached a point where we needed to ensure the Crown was accountable for its Treaty breaches.  We have been clear that the Trust does not simply seek to stop the Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa settlement of its claims – this is about ensuring our Rangitāne interests are protected within our takiwā and that the Crown upholds its promises and obligations to our people.

Once again, Rangitāne thanks whānau for your continued support.  We will now take steps to act on those findings and recommendations with the Crown and will keep you up to date with this important kaupapa.