|Nga Mana Whenua o Tamaki Makaurau
On 4 March 2010 at Karaka Bay representatives of twelve iwi, and Michael Dreaver on behalf of the Crown, signed Nga Mana Whenua o Tamaki Makaurau, a framework agreement covering shared ownership of eleven of Auckland’s volcanic cones and a right of first refusal to buy any surplus Crown land.
This was where, on 4 March 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi had been signed.
In June 2006 a deal had been announced which would have given Ngati Whatua o Orakei mana whenua rights to land of the Auckland isthmus, excluding the rights of all other tribes. There was a lot of distress among the old people of other tribes, but the one-tribe myth was so deeply embedded that the media thought that what they were hearing was just nonsense.
The tide began to turn however after articles in Metro and the Herald. A procession of tribes appealed for an urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing. The Crown deliberately concealed documents from the tribunal which were critical of Ngati Whatua’s claim, and others which highlighted the legal risks of their refusal to talk to other Auckland iwi.
The Waitangi Tribunal suddenly became a tiger with teeth and recommended that the deal with Ngati Whatua should be stopped in its tracks.
The twelve tribes put aside acrimony and quietly agreed on an outcome, which seemed astonishing. Douglas Graeme put together the bones of the deal. Michael Dreaver pulled it all together and negotiated all the details. All the bureaucrats were cut out of the process and Crown negotiated directly with people. Everything was up front and out in the open for everyone to see.
Not all the issues are resolved, and some of them seem intractable, so there is a long way to go. For Te Taou in particular the battle is far from over.
However the first move of the signing which took place at Karaka Bay was something which it seemed would never happen, let alone in such a short space of time. There was every reason to celebrate before moving on.
I would like to acknowledge the article in the NZ Herald on 20 February 2010 by Chris Barton, which was the source of much of the information included in these notes.