Our Settlement

FOLLOW OUR JOURNEY TO SETTLEMENT

The Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust has negotiated an Agreement in Principle with the Crown.

The proposed settlement for Te Whakatōhea will provide the tools and a platform for our iwi to realise our aspirations for a prosperous future for our mokopuna. No settlement will ever compensate Te Whakatōhea for the wrongs done to our iwi, but this is a start.

There remains a long way to go, a lot more kōrero and time for us to come together and share this journey as Te Whakatōhea. Part of this will include voting on the mandate of the Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust to be able to negotiate on behalf of all Whakatōhea hapū. In the end, it is up to all of Whakatōhea to decide if this settlement is right for us.

The Trustees of the Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust understand that not everybody agrees with this settlement and that’s their right. Our door remains open as we continue to work hard on behalf of all of our whānau. We are all Whakatōhea.

OUR AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE

The pre-mandate stage

For the purposes of our settlement, the Whakatōhea claimant group encompasses the whakapapa of the descendants of Muriwai and Tūtāmure and those members (uri) who affiliate to one or more of the hapū and marae o Whakatōhea.

In 2010, Ngāti Ira, Ngāti Ngāhere, Ngāti Rua and Ngāti Patumoana regrouped to consider the next steps in settling our historic claims against the Crown. This grouping of hapū became known as the Tu Ake Whakatōhea Collective.

The Collective sought assistance from the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board (Trust Board) to engage with iwi members of Whakatōhea. They sought to find the most appropriate way to provide a mandate to a representative entity to negotiate the settlement of the historical claims on behalf of Whakatōhea.

Over the course of six years the Collective undertook preparation and drafting of a mandate strategy document, which outlined:

  • our history as an iwi, the names of our marae and hapū
  • our common ancestry and traditional boundaries
  • a description of how people would be nominated and elected to represent the claimant group through the establishment of a pre-settlement claims trust, and
  • how approval would be sort from the claimant group to represent them in negotiations.

In November 2014, a draft mandate strategy was presented to the iwi for feedback and submissions. A total of 146 submissions were received, with 122 in support, five in partial support and 19 opposing. Changes were made to reflect submitters’ comments where agreed.

The mandate strategy was presented again for submission between 22 December 2014 and 13 February 2015, followed by another round of feedback in November 2015.

A further meeting was undertaken with the Crown, the Collective and the claimants in opposition. After considering the issues raised in submissions on the draft mandate strategy, the Collective decided to finalise the strategy and submit it to the Crown.

The Crown endorsed the final mandate strategy on 13 April 2016.

Deed of mandate

On 16 December 2016, the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and the Minister for Māori Development recognised the mandate the Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Trust had to negotiate a settlement on behalf of our iwi and hapū. This was a huge milestone for the Trust and for Whakatōhea.

To reach this milestone, in April 2016, a nomination, election and appointment process was undertaken for six hapū trustees to be elected, eight marae representatives, and one representative from the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board to be appointed. This made a total Trustee membership of 15.

On 3 June the election process was completed and a resolution for the establishment of the Whakatōhea Pre-settlement Claims Trust was supported by 91.6% of Whakatōhea members.

On 16 July 2016, the Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Trust was formed.

Terms of negotiation

The Trust signed our Terms of Negotiation on 17 December, 2016. This document sets out the ground rules for our negotiations with the Crown.

It describes what the claimant group and the Crown want to achieve as they enter into direct negotiations. These terms of negotiation are non-binding.

You can read the Terms of Negotiation document here.

Crown Offer

On 5 August 2017 at Waiaua Marae, the Crown presented a comprehensive Settlement offer to Whakatōhea. This would become the bones of the Agreement in Principle we would sign with the Crown later that month.

You can view the Whakatōhea Crown Offer here.

Agreement in Principle

The Trust and the Crown signed our Agreement in Principle (AIP) for Whakatōhea in August 2017 in Wellington. It was an historic day for our iwi.

This document shows the redress that will be agreed to in the final settlement. It is not a legally binding document and does not describe what the Whakatōhea claimant group will get in detail. Before signing this document the Trust consulted our people on the draft AIP.

Now our AIP has been signed, the document is public, and anyone can read it to see the kind of settlement we, and the Crown, are proposing.

You can view the Whakatōhea Agreement in Principle (19MB) here.

Deed of Settlement

The next steps after Whakatōhea hapū vote on the Trust’s mandate will be to work out the details of Whakatōhea’s settlement with the Crown. This is the longest part of the settlement process.

The discussions between our negotiator and the Crown are confidential and can take 12 to 18 months, or longer.

When the Trust is happy with the settlement on offer, both the Trust and the Crown will initial the Draft Deed of Settlement.

Ratification

Once the draft Deed of Settlement has been initialled, you’ll vote on whether or not to approve the settlement. This process is called ratification. Members of the Trust will have time to consider the settlement package on offer, ask questions, and ultimately vote on the Deed of Settlement.

  1. Every adult member of the Trust (18 years +) has the right to vote
  2. You’ll have between two-six weeks to cast your vote.

The process will likely include:

  1. A series of ratification hui to meet and discuss the terms of the settlement.
  2. You’ll have an opportunity to review the initialled Deed of Settlement.
  3. The Trust will give you a summary of the package that the Crown is offering, and will explain how they worked it out.
  4. There will be time for questions and discussion.
  5. Te Puni Kōkiri will attend the hui to make sure that the process is open and fair, and that everyone who wants to speak is able to.
  6. Voting papers and an information booklet will also be mailed to all registered members. You will be able to vote online or by post if you cannot attend a hui.

If the Settlement passes the vote, the settlement will continue to progress to becoming law. If it does not pass, negotiators may, or may not, be able to continue negotiating with the Crown.

Post-Settlement Governance Entity

When our settlement is complete, a group known as the Post-Settlement Governance Entity (PSGE) will manage the settlement assets. The PSGE needs to be set up before the settlement becomes final and is made law.

A PSGE represents the claimant group and decides how to manage the redress package. It will not necessarily be the same people who represent you during the settlement process.

THE SETTLEMENT PROCESS

THERE ARE FOUR KEY STAGES IN A TREATY SETTLEMENT

    • STAGE ONE: PRE-NEGOTIATION (COMPLETE)
      Our claimant group chooses who will represent them in negotiations.


    • STAGE TWO: NEGOTIATION AND AGREEMENT (WHERE WE ARE NOW)
      Our Iwi representatives and the Crown negotiate the settlement.Key milestones include:
      ⋅ Signing an Agreement in Principle (AIP) – the framework for the settlement (COMPLETED AUGUST 2017)
      ⋅ Initialling a Deed of Settlement (iDOS)
      ⋅ Ratification process – voting on the proposed Deed of Settlement and Post-Settlement Governance Entity (PSGE)
    • The claimant group must agree to the proposed settlement before moving to the next stage. The Crown decides if the ratification voting shows ‘sufficient support’ for the settlement to go ahead. IT’S YOUR DECISION.

    • STAGE THREE: LEGISLATION
    • If ‘sufficient support’ is received, the settlement goes through the law-making process, including:
      ⋅ The Settlement is introduced to Parliament as a Bill
      ⋅ The Bill goes to the Māori Affairs Select Committee and is open for public submissions
      ⋅ The Bill goes through the Second and Third Readings in Parliament, and receives the Royal Assent, becoming law (the Settlement Act)
      ⋅ The claimant group receives a letter confirming that the Settlement has been made law and is complete

  • STAGE FOUR: IMPLEMENTATION
    The Crown and the claimant group work together to make sure everything agreed in the Deed of Settlement happens, including:

    ⋅ Final steps in the set up of the PSGE and Trust Deed, and the election of Trustees
    ⋅ The redress package is transferred to the PSGE within an agreed amount of time, usually 40 working days after the settlement becomes law
    ⋅ All other arrangements detailed in the agreement are implemented

SETTLEMENT FAQS

Did my hapū chose to be involved in this settlement?

Representatives from each hapū actively participated in the processes that led to the establishment of Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust. The Trust has representation from each hapū and all marae (except Roimata).

Are employees of the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board and the Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust shareholders in the Opotiki Mussel Farm?

The Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board is a shareholder in Whakatōhea Mussels Opotiki Ltd. There are also several individuals, companies, and trusts who are shareholders in this company too.

The development of the mussel farm has taken about 15 years and the Settlement journey is more than 20 years long. Neither process has been rushed.

Do the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board and Whakatohea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust share the same trustees?

Both organisations serve the same membership, te Iwi o Whakatohea, and trustees are elected by their respective hapū (and marae in the case of WPSCT). Some hapū/marae have elected the same person to represent them in both forums.

Why has the Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust spent close to $1m so far?

Legal challenges from claimants have forced the Trust to use a significant amount of the financial resources allocated to the Trust for the Settlement. We intended for that funding to be used to increase the value of the settlement package for our Iwi.
The sum of funding the claimants and their lawyers have received for their legal challenges is greater than the total funding the Trust has had to negotiate the settlement for Whakatōhea.

Does the Whakatohea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust have a mandate to negotiate the settlement?

The Trust gained a very high level of support from hapū and the iwi (91.6% of those who voted, voted in favour of the mandate) to establish itself as the mandated entity for Whakatōhea in 2016. Following challenges from claimants, the Waitangi Tribunal suggested a second vote to allow all Whakatōhea whānau to have their say.

The Crown does not mandate the Trust, instead it recognises that our people have done this.

This upcoming vote is an opportunity for whānau to re-confirm the Whakatohea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust’s mandate.

Is it correct that Ngati Ira want to be removed from the mandate?

No, this is incorrect. Ngāti Ira and Opeke Marae are represented by the Trust and are a part of this settlement. Ngāti Ira whānau voted in support of the Trust mandate and attended the signing of the Agreement in Principle. One claimant for Ngāti Ira currently opposes the settlement approach with support of other whānau from Ngati Ira.

Why are there two claims when we are one iwi?

 

When Whakatōhea began the settlement negotiation process in the 1990s there was only one claim: Wai87. This was essentially an iwi-wide claim.

 

However, anyone is able to submit a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, and since the 1900s a number of people have put in additional claims on behalf of different whānau and hapū. This is the case for the Ngāti Ira claim.

 

The Whakatōhea negotiations are being done on behalf of the Whakatōhea claimant community and include whānau, hapū, and the iwi claims that sit within our rohe.

 

Why did the Whakatohea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust not have representation at the judicial review?

Participation in these proceedings is very costly, and the Trust did not want to fritter funding that could otherwise be used to negotiate a better settlement for our iwi.

The Trust was represented at the hearing in the interim relief for the Judicial Review and has participated to the level that ensures our people can have their own say in this process moving forward. That is our priority.

Do the Trust negotiators get paid 1% of the final settlement on top of their fee?

No. Our negotiators are on a fixed fee, paid through funding from the Office of Treaty Settlements, to run this negotiations process.

The entire settlement, if agreed by our people, will be coming back to Whakatōhea. None of it will be paid to the negotiators.
Since the signing of the Punawhakairo / Agreement in Principle (AIP) almost $2M in interest has been added to the overall quantum.

Were the Whakatohea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust Financial Reports made publicly available?

Our financial reports were tabled at our last Annual General Meeting.