Indigenous | Chatham Islands

Moriori and Ngāti Mutunga ki Wharekauri better off working together

Moriori lead treaty negotiator Maui Solomon.   Photo/File.

There is more that unites Moriori and Ngāti Mutunga ki Wharekauri on the Chatham Islands than divides them, says a Moriori iwi leader. This is despite Ngāti Mutunga ki Wharekauri's claim to have mana whenua over the island.

Moriori lead treaty negotiator Maui Solomon says the two iwi get on well but do have their significant differences.

“Actually, the feeling between Moriori and Ngāti Mutunga as people is not a problem, we get on pretty well in the community with one another but at a political, at a leadership level, at a cultural level there are, you know, strong differences of opinion.”

In August, Moriori initialled a Deed of Settlement with the Crown, under which Solomon says they will receive "only about 1.3%" of the total land.

However, Ngāti Mutunga ki Wharekauri continues to assert they are mana whenua by virtue of conquest and native title.

Despite their differences, Solomon says the iwi are better off working together.

“Moriori and Ngāti Mutunga have more that unites us going forward than divides us going back and we need to put a ring around the past, acknowledge it happened and move on together.

"And most people who live on the island today, or many are of Moriori and Ngāti Mutunga ancestry so you can’t divide yourself down the middle, and I believe there is a better future for the island that lays ahead but we can only realise that future if we’re working together.”