The Tuhoe settlement signing
UPDATE: 26/03/2013 11:30am
As I explain in the post below not everyone is happy - or can be expected to be happy - about the deal as it is restricted to the NZ government's self-imposed limitations and is hinged around the Hapu of Tuhoe embracing a centralised corporate model. This morning they have posted up a Whakatane Beacon article out today. It reports the Treaty Negotiations Minister has said:
"The agreement must be honoured by the Crown and successive governments. If we do that, the relationship will be positive. If we don't, there will be chaos."
Chaos is unlikely based on breaches of the past however - more like neglect and quiet dispair aided by government interference and blockage. How can there be "chaos" when quite recently the NZ Police can swarm in, armed with automatic weapons, and occupy a Tuhoe village and not even have to so much as apologise for it. The NZ Police were part of the NZ government's negotiation tactics when seen in the wider context: take out the hard line opposition to the bullshit, elite-captured, money-or-nothing, templated Crown settlement so that it can go through. And take them out they did.
The article notes the absence of Tame Iti from the parliamentary officiation. I very much doubt Kemara would have been their either. The NZ government took their liberty for having conducted self defence exercises in their own homeland... while Kruger, the CEO, and their team were conducting negotiations with that same government. They expect an apology for the Ruatoki occupation at a later point, and yet they continue to talk under those conditions - with the NZ Police refusing to admit what they did was wrong. There was little visible support for Tuhoe's activist frontline when the crunch came. Much to do about the Crown force but not so much to do with Tame and his rama/wananga. If the Tuhoe negotiators had a bottom line it must have been subterranean.
The article notes three groups (one being neighbouring Upokorehe) tried to stop the signing with last minute applications to the Waitangi Tribunal.
The delegation from Tuhoe signed off on a deed of settlement with the Crown in Wellington last week. RNZ has reported a section of Tuhoe, Te Umutaoroa, is at odds with the umbrella Te Kotahi a Tuhoe group and will not sign. The PR from the Crown and Tuhoe has been uncontested, but in most (all?) of these settlements since the 1990s achieving internal iwi agreement over who lost what and who will gain what and under what conditions, is not possible. Not possible in the context of the constraints imposed by the government at least. Some Hapu and whanau are not willing to sell out to someone else's dream, but what can they do if they are in the minority and it is being signed away from under them?
Tamati Kruger and his CEO have proceeded at some haste to secure this deal and establish their capital in Taneatua to house the corporate trust they envisage running their tribal services. I was at one hui where they presented their case (Tuhoe have many other tribes on their boundary who must be consulted with regards the cross-claims) and they had altered their map. He said they had dropped some area and it had changed - we should chill out because this was a new map. Then there were complaints: that area shouldn't be descibed as that. Latest I've seen is a new map with a new area... Kruger also made concessions on claiming Crown lands in cross-claim areas. This adds up to someone chasing the Crown deal pretty hard and willing to do what it takes to get it through. This is in stark contrast to the wider kotahitanga (unity) shown amongst the Mataatua tribes when faced with Crown invasion in the 1860s, back then Tuhoe and the neighbouring iwi had a confederation under the hokowhitu (assembly). The government managed to do each Treaty settlement of the tribes separately: Ngati Awa first, and after the youth put a stop to a Whakatohea deal that iwi has been at the back of the queue (as an example of what happens if a tribe does not accept the Crown's 'take it or leave it' position).
The way the NZ government runs the Treaty settlement policy means Tuhoe's $170m of collective compensation was predetermined, the co-management and even (non)status of their land (almost all of it gazetted as a National Park in the 1950s) was predetermined and for that matter everything else in the settlement has been determined by precedent and within the government's evolved Treaty negotiations policy. What is novel in the Tuhoe deal? The non-ownership of Te Urewera? Perhaps. Where was the reinstatement of the Urewera Act of 1896 that included Seddon''s letter of amity and commitment, and the basis for the government's recognition of autonomy in local government?
Nowadays they seem to be aiming a lot lower: a corporate model and the hope a relatively inadequate reparation payout will solve the continuing problems of trying to exist in a colonial situation. They have to validate the colonial situation in order to get anything out of the colonial entity - that's most of the problem right there.
It has been sold as a way for Tuhoe to opt out of NZ. But given this settlement is supposedly the full and final one, with a Crown apology in return for an acceptance of the confiscation etc then they are buying into it, legitimising the wrongs and letting Wellington off the hook without any real legal autonomy to speak of. Not everyone in Tuhoe will be content with what is being proposed. Not everyone will be happy with less than ten trustees, in for 5 years each, making decisions for Tuhoe on what to do with the funds. The debate leading up to the vote will see whether the opposition is wider than just this one group.