In the latest sign that the 125,000-strong iwi may settle ahead of this year’s general election, Harawira issued a two-page statement under the letterhead of Tuhornuku, the independent authority mandated to settle the claims after years of friction that have not fully subsided between competing elements of the tribe.
Most members of Ngapuhi who voted, voted to settle and recognise the mandate of the negotiators. A small minority are opposed, but it is very significant that Titewhai is not one of them, and even she is in favour of the settlement occurring.
An extract from her release:
Ngāpuhi are ready to talk to the Crown about settling, says Ngāpuhi Kuia and leader Titewhai Harawira.
“I have travelled and talked to Ngāpuhi from Hokianga to Invercargill and all stops in between. And I’ve heard what our people want. They want to get on with settlement.
“We are by far the biggest Iwi and we should be having input and influence over everything that is happening in our country”. …
Overwhelmingly, our people want to settle. We want to put the grievances behind us so we can become strong again as a people, as we were before colonisation.
“It is time for Ngāpuhi to take its rightful place in the leadership of our nation. Settlement will do this – it will advance our people in every way, in education, health, economically and culturally.
Said Mrs Harawira: “A Treaty settlement for all Ngāpuhi will transform Northland’s Iwi into an economic powerhouse, in a way other tribes have done for their regions further south.
There’s a fair amount I don’t agree with Titewhai on. But when she says it is time to settle and use the money to improve the economy, health and education of the Ngapuhi people, she is right. They are the only remaining major Iwi to settle, and it will be great if it does occur in the next couple of years.