The following article was originally published in the August 2008 Nga Kohinga.
The Ngati Porou chief negotiator, Dr. Apirana Mahuika, and the Attorney-General Dr. Cullen, initialed the Ngati Porou Foreshore and Seabed Deed of Agreement on the 7th August 2008 in Wellington.
The initialing of the Deed means that those matters that were left to be resolved when the Heads of Agreement was signed in February have now been agreed and the Deed can now be submitted to Ngati Porou by way of formal ratification process.
The initialling of the Deed means that the hapu of Ngati Porou will now have the opportunity to consider the Deed and decide whether or not to support the agreements that have been reached. Ratification hui with hapu will soon be held to discuss and vote on the Deed.
If the results of the ratification process indicate a sufficient level of support for the Deed then it will be signed by representatives of the hapu and the Crown and legislation to give effect to the Deed will be introduced into Parliament.
In addition to the general recognition and instruments that will be available to all hapu that support the Deed, the Deed sets out seven areas where the Crown has agreed that the hapu associated with those areas have Territorial Customary Rights (or TCRs) based on unbroken ownership of the coastal land and the exclusive use and occupation of the foreshore and seabed in that area.
Assuming that the hapu associated with these TCR areas support the Deed, then applications will be filed in the High Court to have those TCRs confirmed. Once confirmed those hapu will receive he benefit of a series of higher level protection provided in the Deed, including a right to consent to the grant of resource consents and the establishment of the likes of marine reserves, marine protected areas and aquaculture management areas.
These TCR areas are only intended to be the first in a series of applications that hapu will make as part of a staged process of applications that can be made in a two-year period from the date that the first set of applications is ruled upon by the Court.
The details of the ratification hui had not been finalised at the time that Nga Kohinga went to print. However, the hui times, dates and venues will be advertised in the newspaper and on radio.
The option of a direct mail out is also being considered. Further information will also be available on www.fssb.ngatiporou.iwi.nz, which can also be access through a link on the Runanga website: http://www. ngatiporou.com.
Continued opposition to the Foreshore and Seabed Act
It is important to reiterate that in initialing the Deed with the Crown Ngati Porou are not backing down from their opposition to the Foreshore and Seabed Act. Shortly after the initialing Dr Mahuika confirmed that: “We have agreed to disagree with the Crown in the interests of moving on and obtaining the legal protection and recognition required by our hapu of their longstanding rights.”