Government changes tack over stalled Ngāpuhi treaty negotiations

The Government has changed tack in treaty negotiations with Ngāpuhi after years of delays, with the Crown now seeking proposals for takiwā (area) groups, Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little announced today.

The takiwā (area) groups within the iwi will be asked about how specific claims for cultural redress should be negotiated, the minister said in a release.

"As well as providing for negotiations at a more localised level I am also clear that the only sensible way to deal with issues that are common to all hapū is for those issues to be discussed together," he said.

"Today's announcements give Ngāpuhi a fresh opportunity to build a cohesive mandate to negotiate redress for their claims, to push forward with area-specific cultural redress for their takiwā, and to see the fruits of what agreement with the Crown could bring for their people."

It is an opportunity for the negotiation framework to be rebuilt from the ground up, Mr Little says.

It comes after years of bitter infighting. While the Crown accepted the Tūhoronuku mandate in 2014, it was immediately followed by objections from hapū who said those appointed didn't represent them.

"The Crown cannot grant a mandate, or discontinue it, the Crown can only recognise a mandate where and if it has been granted by iwi members," Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta said.

The Crown will work with Ngāpuhi groups over the next six months to establish a new process for building mandates for the negotiations.

"A mandate is not static. The mandate that Tūhoronuku Independent Mandate Authority previously held no longer provides for the kind of opportunities that Ngāpuhi have told us they are seeking," Mr Mahuta said.

A new Ngāpuhi sovereign investment fund is also on the table however Mr Little says a detailed proposal has yet to be developed.