Three Tribes – One Settlement 

Te Korowai o Wainuiārua: Treaty Claims – Uenuku Charitable Trust

On 1 February 2014, a Hui-ā-Iwi at Mangamingi Pā called for a new tribal authority, and Uenuku Charitable Trust (UCT) was established. Three tūpuna – Tamakana, Tamahaki and Uenuku – were identified as unifying our Treaty of Waitangi claims area as a Large Natural Grouping (LNG). The LNG was named Te Korowai o Wainuiārua. In July 2015, the Te Korowai o Wainuiārua claimant community supported the resolution:

“That Uenuku Charitable Trust is mandated to represent Te Korowai o Wainuiārua in negotiations with the Crown for the comprehensive settlement of all historical Treaty of Waitangi claims that relate to Te Korowai o Wainuiārua.”

The Deed of Mandate for negotiations was formally recognised in July 2016. In February 2017, Uenuku Charitable Trust signed the Terms of Negotiation in which we determined the rules for how we act during negotiations with the Crown.

We are now in the Agreement in Principle phase. This is the business end of negotiations, which will determine the value and content of the settlement package and prepare our historical account of Treaty breaches. In this phase we will also begin crucial discussions on the Post-Settlement Governance Entity (PSGE) that will receive the settlement and manage the assets going forward. To be clear, UCT will not be the entity that receives settlement assets – a new entity will be created for that task, and we will be looking for direction on who you want to receive and manage the assets, and how.

We have held extensive rounds of hui to prepare for negotiations, including with kaumātua, Wai claimants, hapū, local authorities, land trusts, government agencies, and neighbouring iwi. We are in talks with Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Hāua and the Whanganui Land Settlement Trust on overlapping land interests and the Treaty settlement process. We have taken great strides in sorting out our respective and shared interests, or – because of our extensive shared whakapapa – how we might look after each other’s interests. All of these conversations – although sometimes challenging – have been good, and we are committed to continuing to work through these discussions.

As well as comprehensive land settlement, we are involved in a number of other settlements, including:

  • Tongariro National Park, which will be negotiated by a collective of iwi with interests in the park.
  • Whanganui National Park, a significant portion of which sits within our area of interest. In 2016, we facilitated a number of hui of iwi with interests in Whanganui National Park for preliminary discussions.

Negotiations Team

UCT has appointed a team to drive negotiations with the Crown and represent the interests of our people.

  • Lead Negotiator – Chris McKenzie (leads all aspects of our multiple-settlement workstreams)
  • Negotiator – Paora Haitana
  • Negotiator – Aiden Gilbert
  • Treaty Project Manager – Steve Hirini
  • Negotiations Support – Moana Ellis
  • Office Support – Ariana Hawira

The Negotiations Team is supported by specialist advisors, an historian, a research committee, and the UCT Board of Trustees.

Historian – Professor Richard Boast, ONZM

We are proud to have with us Professor Richard Boast, ONZM, who specialises in legal history and Māori land law. A Queen’s Counsel and lecturer at Victoria University’s School of Law, Professor Boast has written many research reports for the Waitangi Tribunal process and has been an expert historian over many years in settlement negotiations between iwi and the Crown. He has made special submissions to the Tribunal, including on the law relating to the foreshore and seabed, Crown purchasing of Māori land, and the Native Land Court. Professor Boast has published a three-volume critique of leading judgments of the Native Land Court and in 2009 his book ‘Buying the Land, Selling the Land’, which dealt with Māori land and the Native Land Court from 1865-1920, was awarded the Montana Book award for history. In 2015 Professor Boast was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in recognition of his contribution to legal-historical scholarship. In the New Year Honours 2018, Professor Boast was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the law and Māori. Professor Boast is working with our Research Team to complete a comprehensive report incorporating traditional history, the Native Land Court and an historical account.

Research Team

We have a core team of researchers which includes Don Robinson, Boy Cribb, Gaye Whitu, Te Kurataiaha Wanikau Turoa, Edward Clark, Carolyn Heta, Clive Te Iwimate and Sheryl Connell – and we draw on other expertise as needed. We are also lucky to have our expert mapper Jake Robinson and kaumātua/cultural advisor Uncle Jim Edmonds.

Three Tribes – One Settlement 

Native Land Court records and other primary sources identify Uenuku, Tamahaki and Tamahaki as the eponymous ancestors of their own discrete tribes. Whilst these tribes are also known as tribes of the Whanganui River they have been recorded as their own distinct entities. This is in line with our own traditional histories. Each tribe had numerous hapū aligned to them.

The Crown expectation that all three tribes settle in one collective has caused significant discomfort and unrest amongst the various tribal entities and is a complicating factor in settling historical claims.

Area of Interest  

The Te Korowai o Wainuiārua area of interest is large and extends across four Waitangi Tribunal Inquiry districts. Our interests have been evidenced in these respective tribunal inquiries including Taihape, Whanganui, Rohe Pōtae and Tauponuiātia.

He karanga atu rā

There are many, many challenges and opportunities facing our people, including pressing environmental, social, cultural, political and economic issues. As we move carefully and steadily toward a settlement that may help provide a foundation from which to address these issues, we will need your ideas, involvement and support. We call for those who can to bring their skills and energy home to Raetihi, National Park, Makaranui, our rivers and maunga, and the wider rohe to assist in the vast amount of mahi required to protect the interests of our taonga whenua, maunga, awa and whānau.