Legislation which provides protection for Ngati Porou hapu over their foreshore and seabed interests has taken another step closer, with Crown and hapu representatives signing the Deed to Amend the 2008 Nga Hapu o Ngati Porou Deed of Agreement.
Since January this year, a series of ratification hui have been held around the Ngati Porou rohe asking Ngati Porou hapu to consider the amendments to the Nga Hapu o Ngati Porou Deed of Agreement that was signed in 2008. The Deed updates the 2008 Deed.
Hui participants were also asked to consider approving the establishment of hapu-based trusts to exercise their decision-making rights under the legislation. From January to July, 49 of 57 Ngati Porou hapu held their formal ratification hui, with 47 ratifying the new Deed and two deciding against it. In addition, 46 of those 47 ratifying hapu also approved their hapu-based trusts.
Matanuku Mahuika, lead negotiator for the takutai moana negotiations with the Crown, says although the amending Deed has been signed, there will still be the opportunity for the remaining hapu to become parties to the new Deed and legislation.
“The door remains open for the eight hapu who have yet to make their decisions, as well as the two hapu who have said ‘no’ to come back in. This has always been a process of hapu deciding how they want to proceed, no one is forced to be involved in it. Kei a ratau te mana. But this entire journey has taken a long time, so for the majority of hapu, the 47 who have already agreed to the amending Deed, the proper thing to do was to carry on with the next step of the process before the Election.”
In addition to the gathering of signatures for the amending Deed, a draft Nga Rohe Moana o Nga Hapu o Ngati Porou Bill has also been prepared and is ready to introduce into Parliament following the Election. The new bill replaces the previous version introduced in 2008, and will give effect to the Deed once it passes its three stages of legislation.
Matanuku says the timeframe for introducing the Bill to parliament and for it to pass, will be dependent upon who the next Government will be, and how long it will take for the new Parliament to open following the General Election.
“It’s a bit hard to say because we don’t know what the election result will be – whether it will be a National or Labour-led Government. If it’s Labour-led I hope they will be true to the commitments they made in 2008 when the original Deed was signed. Our message has always been consistent - the takutai moana is an area where hapu have always exercised mana.”
- Digital copies of the Deed to Amend the 2008 Nga Hapu o Ngati Porou Deed of Agreement, will be available within the next few weeks from www.ngatiporou.com/takutaimoana and the Office of Treaty Settlements website www.ots.govt.nz