The result of the Whakatōhea vote on the future of its Treaty of Waitangi claims has been announced today, with majority support for the Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust (the Trust) and its continued work to achieve a comprehensive settlement for all of Whakatōhea.

A total of 2,726 valid votes were cast on Question 1 with 56.27% (1,534 votes) opting to support the Trust and its work.

The iwi-wide voting process was recommended by the Waitangi Tribunal following its inquiry into the Trust’s mandate to negotiate a Treaty settlement on behalf of Whakatōhea.

Trust Chairman Graeme Riesterer says the trustees are humbled by the support shown from Whakatōhea whānui, and he has acknowledged all who voted.

“On behalf of our team, I want to extend our heartfelt mihi to all those who voted in favour of the Trust and our mahi, and also to those who voted no, as this was an important opportunity for Whakatōhea to have a say. It’s also clear from the results that some hapū members voted in preference of a district inquiry.”

“This vote has tested the pulse of Whakatōhea in an open and transparent process. We have always said it is up to our whānau and hapū to decide what happens next, and now they have done so,” says Mr Riesterer.

All registered Whakatōhea hapū members (8,839 eligible voters) were asked to vote on whether they support the Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust’s mandate, or whether they want Treaty negotiations stopped for a re-mandating process or a full Waitangi Tribunal Inquiry into the historical grievances of the iwi.

The Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and Minister for Māori Development will now consider the results before deciding whether or not the Crown will resume negotiations with the Trust or explore other options involving Whakatōhea.

“The Trust is however glad that there was a significant increase in numbers of Whakatōhea having their say on this, and that the majority have spoken out in favour of completing the settlement process,” says Mr Riesterer.

“We will await the decision by the Crown and we look forward to working this through with our iwi. We hope we can soon all move forward with unity and the shared goal of achieving great things for Whakatōhea.”

Full results of the vote can be accessed here.