National | Māori

Waikato-Tainui launches High Court action against the government

Iwi seeks clarification on its position with Crown.

Waikato-Tainui has today filed proceedings in the High Court in Wellington, seeking a declaration from the Crown that it affirms the rights and interests of Waikato-Tainui.

Te Arataura chair Tukoroirangi Morgan said the action follows recent statements by ministers of the National-led coalition government over the Māori language, the Treaty of Waitangi and other issues that “are in direct conflict with the Crown’s commitments and related obligations to Waikato-Tainui.”

He said the statements risk undermining decades of work and progress to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Waikato-Tainui.

“We do this to protect what has been hard-fought.”

Morgan likened the high court action to an aukati (a line not to be crossed) set by the first Māori King, Potatau Te Wherowhero in 1863 to deter an invasion by colonial troops. War ensued when Governor Grey ignored the boundary.

“Waikato-Tainui has today drawn a contemporary aukati with the filing of proceedings in the High Court,” he said.

Morgan said he welcomed the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister and his ministerial colleagues to discuss the concerns of Waikato-Tainui.

“Together, we must resolve these issues that lie before us through direct engagement and agreement, without further advancing the proceeding before the court”.

Kīngi Tuheitia is due to host a national day of unity at Tūrangawaewae marae in Ngāruawāhia on January 20, to discuss a national Māori response to the government’s so-called ‘anti-Māori’ policies.