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Ngāpuhi members call for more detail as Government announces negotiation changes


Major changes are being made in the way the Government deals with the country's largest iwi, but some of the iwi's members remain sceptical.

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Ngāpuhi's treaty settlement has been stalled for years as the tribe has struggled to get itself to the start line for negotiations. Source: 1 NEWS

Ngāpuhi's treaty settlement has been stalled for years, with the tribe struggling to get to the negotiating table.

"I think the Crown has a moral duty to work very hard with Ngāpuhi to try and find that way forward, because treaty breaches have been committed that have caused them harm," Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little told 1 NEWS.

Now the minister has effectively ripped up the authority to negotiate given to Tuhoronuku.

The group's mandate has long been contested and now it's back to square one.

The Government is now going to settle cultural concerns on a regional or takiwā basis to deal with issues that are common to all hapū, including environmental concerns.

This is a big departure, with treaty settlements historically being negotiated with iwi as a whole.

In Northland, some are calling for more detail.

"We need to look at the deeper issue here, which is the redress for the Crown's haras (offences) against Ngāpuhi," Ngati Hineira's Hinerangi Himiona said.

"[It's] not about the amount, that looks like it's attached to a for sale sign for Ngāpuhi."

Also new, the Government is considering establishing a Ngāpuhi sovereign investment fund, which would form part of the final redress for the tribe.

Mr Little says it would likely be "around the $100 million mark".

"It'd be kind of closer to a downpayment on what that total future redress might look like, but it's substantial enough to invest but it leaves ample to secure through future negotiations."

Timing is key here, with polarising leader Sonny Tau's resignation from all iwi positions in October creating a power vacuum.

With no significant treaty wins, Mr Little has something to prove too.

"I think the Crown have a moral duty to work very hard with Ngāpuhi to try and find that way forward," he said.

"To restore the mana of the Crown, we should never let up."

The test now is whether his enthusiasm will bring results.