May 18, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Nga Hapu Katoa o Ngaruahine Tribunal hearings end today

2 min read

(Taranaki Daily News) A Taranaki iwi is on a renewed campaign to have petroleum resources included in a redress for land compensation.Lawyers will make their closing legal submissions in Wellington today before the tribunal announces its findings. Nga Hapu Katoa o Ngaruahine began its submissions in a week-long Waitangi Tribunal hearing at Aotearoa Marae, Okaiawa on May 26.

The iwi started a claim in 2000 that the expropriation of oil and gas under Maori lands was a breach of the treaty. It had argued for a change in the Crown’s stated policy over national ownership of oil and gas, before it completed its historic claims settlements with other Taranaki iwi. In its 2003 report, the tribunal found that “the expropriation of the pre-existing Maori rights to petroleum arose from a context riddled with breaches of the treaty”.

But the Crown rejected that approach, saying no interest in mineral resources would form part of redress in Taranaki or elsewhere. The New Zealand Government had nationalised petroleum reserves in 1937 so that oil, gas and minerals were owned collectively by all New Zealanders and managed by the Government on their behalf.

Legal counsel Tom Bennion, for Ngaruahine, told the tribunal that the iwi had suffered major environmental, historical and cultural disadvantage and damage to their wahi tapu as a result of not being adequately recognised in the resource allocation and management framework and processes.

Daisy Noble gave evidence about Ngaruahine’s experience of the permitting system under the Crown Minerals Act, highlighting how the regime didn’t provide for more than “tick the box” consultation that did not happen early enough in the process.

We would expect the developers would come and korero with those people particular to that area. They would come to us first, not the Crown,” Ms Noble said.

The iwi did not have the capacity to deal with huge documents of technical details that they were expected to digest and discuss with their hapu in just a few weeks. Mere Brooks from the Okahu Inuawai hapu of Ngaruahine said iwi was still being ignored under the Resource Management Act.

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