Regional | Coromandel

Te Arawa elders gate crash Hauraki meeting

A Hauraki Tribal Collective settlement meeting was gate crashed by Te Arawa elders today.

The Hauraki Iwi Collective were at the Club conference room in Thames discussing tribal matters when Te Arawa elders turned up unannounced.

Hauraki iwi members' appeared stunned as Te Arawa elders, who traveled from Rotorua, insisted they meet with Hon Rick Barker, Crown Chief Negotiator for the Hauraki Collective redress claim, who had spoken to Hauraki earlier in the day.

The request for five minutes with Barker stretched out to over twenty before Hauraki representatives intervened.

Te Arawa are opposing the Hauraki Collective's fee simple claim over Moehau maunga, the burial ground of many of their ancestors, including Tamatekapua the captain of the Arawa canoe.

Te Arawa elder, Te Ariki Morehu, said Te Arawa's interests in Moehau must be heard as there are many Te Arawa ancestors buried in many plots on the sacred mountain.

Hauraki spokesmen were disappointed with Te Arawa's failure to call a meaningful meeting face to face.

Waati Ngamane says, “They had not contacted the Hauraki Collective, nor have they approached the Hauraki council of elders. So I don't understand why they would come by the bus load to meet with us today.”

Marutuahu cultural expert, Koro Ngapo said, if they wished to meet, "it must happen on the marae.”

Ngapo added, Te Arawa are not the only iwi with ancestors buried on the maunga. "Many iwi have ancestors buried there including us, Marutuahu."

More than 200 Te Arawa made the early morning journey from Rotorua to Whitianga to talk with fellow Te Arawa tribes, Ngāti Hei and Ngāti Rereahu about their stance on the Hauraki Collective fee simple claim over Moehau maunga.

Ngāti Hei is one of 12 iwi within the Hauraki Collective, but say their voice on Moehau maunga claim is not being heard.

Hon Barker received Te Arawa's concerns. Both parties have also agreed to a face to face meeting in the future.