Regional | Andrew Little

Waikato iwi gifts land to Tauranga Moana

Waikato iwi Ngāti Hinerangi have agreed to gift land back to Tauranga Moana and enter into a shared governance arrangement over other land.  This settles a cross-claim that had affected the relationship between the Hauraki Collective and Tauranga iwi.

A deed of settlement was signed at Te Ōhākī Marae near Matamata on Saturday. This saw the Crown apologise to Ngāti Hinerangi for historical treaty breaches and agree to provide financial redress of $8.1 million.

Iwi treaty negotiator Rawiri Thompson says, “It’s a significant day that officials from the Beehive have come to be part of our signing.”

At the ceremony were members of Tauranga Moana, who Ngāti Hinerangi agreed to settle its differences with.

Ngāti Hinerangi co-negotiator Dianna Vaimosa says, “We have decided that Te Tuhi Track and Te Ara o Maurihoro Track will actually be a shared governance role between us and Tauranga Moana."

"The Waipapa Ngāti Hinerangi," she says, "we will be gifting that back to Tauranga Moana.”

Ngāti Hinerangi says the issue affecting Tauranga iwi and the Hauraki Collective wasn't worth fighting over.

Te Ao Māori News was unable to reach Hauraki Collective treaty negotiator Paul Majourey for comment.

Tauranga iwi representative Puhirake Ihaka says, “It's sort of [a] culmination this gesture, of unity between us, and for that we're grateful and we'll treasure that will help to cement our relationship.”

Minister of Treaty Negotiations Andrew Little praised Ngāti Hinerangi for the way they handled the delicate situation between iwi, by doing it under tikanga Māori.

“The way that Ngāti Hinerangi and Tauranga Moana have interacted with the overlapping interest may have been a model for others,” he says.

Ngāti Hinerangi were once believed to be a sub-tribe of Ngāti Raukawa until research through the Māori Land Court proved their existence as an iwi. With the backing of the Waitangi Tribunal, they declared their mana motuhake in 2012.