The identity of Uenuku iwi and its sub-tribes will be compromised if the Whanganui River Settlement is passed in its current form, according to Uenuku Charitable Trust.
Uenuku Charitable Trust is asking for a number of changes to the Te Awa Tupua river settlement Bill to avoid what it describes as a range of unintended consequences.
On 15 August 2016, Uenuku Charitable Trust negotiators for Te Korowai o Wainuiārua (the mandated entity to settle all historical treaty claims of central Whanganui and environs) attended the Māori Affairs Select Committee hearing in Whanganui for the Te Awa Tupua Bill.
At the hearing, Uenuku Charitable Trust chairman Aiden Gilbert said: “We support the majority of this Bill, however we look to have some changes made to the Bill as Settlement legislation is supposed to address historic grievances. If this Bill is passed in its current form, it will create new grievances.”
Mr Gilbert and Paora Haitana made submissions on behalf of Te Korowai o Wainuiārua opposing the list of Hapū in Schedule 1 of the Bill, which names Uenuku as a Hapū of Whanganui Iwi. Mr Gilbert said “the identity of all Hapū of Uenuku is at risk when our Iwi is relegated to Hapū status in this River Settlement. If left in this position it will have a range of unintended consequences”.
Further submissions made on behalf of Uenuku Charitable Trust included issues around decision-making powers, and the transfer of land-based assets and fisheries assets to a river settlement entity.
Mr Haitana said: “As middle and upper river Iwi, we are better served by the present laws and regulations of the current government than by the Bill that extinguishes rights as Iwi. We at least retain our dignity.”
On Monday 5 September 2016, Uenuku Charitable Trust negotiators for Te Korowai o Wainuiārua attended the Māori Affairs Select Committee hearing in support of the Ngāti Haaua (Taumarunui) submissions. Ngāti Haaua says it is also an Iwi relegated to Hapū status in this Bill.
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