Indigenous | Chatham Islands

Crown ignores mana whenua of Ngāti Mutunga ki Wharekauri

Reporter Wena Harawira with Ngāti Mutunga ki Wharekauri lead negotiator Tom McClurg.    Photo/File.

Ngāti Mutunga ki Wharekauri is at loggerheads with the Crown, which has cut them out of a land deal in the Chatham Islands.

Taia Historic Reserve is being handed over to Moriori and the High Court ruled against Ngāti Mutunga's bid to stop the deal.

Now, the tribe is heading to the Court of Appeal.

Tom McClurg, the lead negotiator for Ngāti Mutunga ki Wharekauri, says the deal amounts to the unreasonable seizure of its property and ignores Ngāti Mutunga's civil rights.

"Ngati Mutunga has always said they are the iwi with mana whenua over the entirety of Wharekauri, including Taia, and on that basis alone the Crown should be engaging with Ngāti Mutunga," he said.

"We have a cultural interest that needs to be recognised at least by the Crown. We don't say it's an exclusive interest but it's an interest that can't be just ignored."

Mr McClurg says the reserve should remain under Crown control to ensure a Treaty partnership with Moriori and Ngāti Mutunga.