Tribunal releases Maniapoto Mandate Inquiry Report
The Waitangi Tribunal today released the Maniapoto Mandate Inquiry Report in pre-publication format. The report addresses 10 claims.
The overarching issue in the inquiry was whether the Crown breached the Treaty of Waitangi in recognising the Maniapoto Māori Trust Board’s mandate to negotiate the Ngāti Maniapoto settlement of historical Treaty claims with the Crown.
The Tribunal’s overall finding is that the Crown’s recognition of the Trust Board’s mandate was reasonable given the Trust Board’s level of support, infrastructure, and extensive involvement in previous settlements.
It was also reasonable given that, prior to September 2016, the Crown had conducted lengthy discussions in good faith with Te Kawau Mārō, the entity which previously sought the mandate to negotiate the Ngāti Maniapoto settlement.
However, the Tribunal found that aspects of the process to recognise the Trust Board’s mandate were not fair or undertaken in good faith.
In particular, the Crown’s implementation of the ‘Broadening the Reach’ strategy and its fluctuating position concerning the inclusion of Ngāti Apakura in the deed of mandate breached the principles of partnership, reciprocity and equal treatment. The Tribunal concluded that ‘Broadening the Reach’, in particular, prioritised the Crown’s political objectives to complete settlements within a shorter timeframe over its Treaty relationship with Ngāti Maniapoto.
The Tribunal also found that the Trust Board’s deed of mandate, as it currently stands, is largely adequate for the purpose of negotiations.
For over 20 months, between 2013 and mid-2016, the Crown worked with Te Kawau Mārō to progress a mandate for Ngāti Maniapoto negotiations.
In September 2016, the Crown ceased to work with Te Kawau Mārō to develop a Crown-recognised mandate strategy and offered the Trust Board the opportunity to seek the mandate as part of a new Crown strategy called ‘Broadening the Reach’.
‘Broadening the Reach’ sought to expedite the Treaty settlement process for certain iwi and geographic areas that had not benefited from the comprehensive settlement process at the time and which would otherwise have to wait many years for settlement.
Following a truncated mandating process that took 10 weeks, as opposed to the standard 12 to 18 months, the Crown formally recognised the Trust Board’s mandate in December 2016.
The Tribunal has not recommended a halt to negotiations, but it has made a number of practical recommendations to help guide the Crown and parties towards reaching an amicable, durable and robust settlement.
Its recommendations include providing distinct recognition in the deed of mandate for certain hapū, giving serious thought to post-settlement governance entity options to manage and distribute the Ngāti Maniapoto settlement, adjusting the resourcing and monetary amount for the Ngāti Maniapoto settlement to account for the re-inclusion of Ngāti Apakura, amending the remedies clauses in the deed of mandate, and actively having regard to its whanaungatanga obligations to Ngāti Maniapoto Māori in the Treaty settlement process.
The Maniapoto Mandate Inquiry was an inquiry granted urgency status by the Waitangi Tribunal in November 2018. The inquiry investigated the Crown’s actions during the mandating process with Ngāti Maniapoto from 2013 to 2019, as well as the suitability of the Trust Board’s deed of mandate for negotiating the settlement of Ngāti Maniapoto Treaty claims.
The Waitangi Tribunal heard evidence on these issues from claimants and the Crown over two weeks in July 2019 in Hamilton. The panel hearing the claims comprised Judge Sarah Reeves (presiding), Professor Pou Temara, and Dr Aroha Harris.
The Waitangi Tribunal’s report is now available to download: The Maniapoto Mandate Inquiry Report – Pre-publication Version [PDF, 1.7 Mb](external link).
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