Waitangi Tribunal & the Kaituna River claim


Kaituna River claimYou are a member of the Waitangi Tribunal. The Tribunal is a commission of inquiry. This means your job is to discover all the facts about a particular claim.

Claims can be taken out only against the Crown. (The Crown is the Government of the country.) You and the other members of the Tribunal must decide whether the Crown's actions are contrary to the Treaty of Waitangi and whether they disadvantage Māori people.

The Treaty gave Māori people 'te tino rangatiratanga o o ratou wenua o ratou kainga me o ratou taonga katoa. Otiia ko nga Rangatira o te Wakaminenga me nga Rangatira katoa atu ka tuku ki te Kuini te hokonga o era wahi wenua e pai ai te tangata nona te Wenua-ki te ritenga o te utu e wakaritea ai e ratou ko te kai hoko e meatia nei e te Kuini hei kai hoko mona'.

This translates as 'the unqualified exercise of their chieftainship over their lands, villages and all their treasures. But on the other hand the Chiefs of the Confederation and all the Chiefs will sell land to the Queen at a price agreed to by the person owning it and by the person buying it (the latter being) appointed by the Queen as her purchase agent'.1

The English version reads 'the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession'.2

It is your job, as a member of the Tribunal, to take both versions into account. Remember, most Māori people signed the Māori version.

At the end of the inquiry, you will make recommendations to the Government about what should be done to resolve the claim. The Government may or may not carry out your recommendations.

Today, you are seated at Te Takinga Marae on the western shores of Lake Rotoiti. You are here to listen to evidence from a large number of people about the Kaituna claim. You can ask them questions.

The session began with karakia, and at midday you will be sharing food with all the people present in the whare kai.


  1. The Māori text is taken from the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 and the English translation was done by former Tribunal member Professor Sir Hugh Kawharu. Read the Kawharu translation
  2. This English text is taken from the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975. Read the English version

Next: Background and Evidence

This page was last updated: