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Developing Te Kapowai whānau trust

Future blues: Economic development

10.3 Developing Te Kapowai whānau trust

whānau journal, highlighting how the whānau acquired their lands, how they had been alienated, future plans for the trust, and so on.

The trust would have a business development arm, which will deal with possible ventures such as exporting natives, tourism, fishing tours, diving tours, bush walking, horse trekking, traditional Māori tour packages, nursery and plant sales, fruit and vegetable sales, lodge hire age, camp hire age, historical tours, kayaking, river walks, gold and rock hunting, and kauri gum hunting.

As mentioned before, the trust would have a Tangihanga fund which would deal with Tangihanga amongst the whānau. This would be funded by a small annual fee imposed on all the beneficiaries of the trust, and would also be open to receive koha from any groups which wished to contribute larger funds. Of course, all accounts for this fund had to be kept in order and would be accountable to the office and administration arm.

The trust would also have an environment and resource management function which would liase with regional organisations such as Environment Waikato, district councils, and other iwi groups, plus government departments like DOC, to ensure Urupa, historic places and waahi tapu are protected, as well as the waterways, including Te Kapowai River, Rangahau River, Oteao stream, and the Waiwawa River.

A sport and recreation branch would be included which would co-ordinate activities such as youth camps, Mau Taiaha, fishing charters, diving charters,

Kapa Haka, educational evenings, and also extend to cover drug and alcohol abuse and gambling abuse.

The Trust would also include a multimedia branch which would deal with computer education, assisting people to learn about emails, designing websites, word-processing, also video production and editing, perhaps including activities like preparing short documentaries, about the whenua, Hauraki and Tauranga areas.

The hierarchy of the organisation would be as follows:

Trustees Interim manager

Management team-consisting of

Office and Admin-Business arm- Historical arm-Sport and Recreation arm –Multimedia arm- Environment arm-Tangihanga arm.

Under these different branches would be the different teams (Design model Te Kapowai Whānau trust, 2001)

As mentioned before, the relevance of the proposed three large Hui had changed, and instead of holding the Hui the author and his partner began to carry out the majority of the work through their own efforts. The author had designed the Trust deed and was waiting for the Māori Land Court to legalise it. The author and his partner compiled a checklist of mahi to complete and set about achieving the mahi themselves, with the idea of holding just a single whānau Hui:


As far as this was concerned, the proposal was ready approved by the Te Puni Kōkiri representative and simply awaited the legal formation of Te Kapowai whānau trust before being sent off to Wellington to be approved officially.

Koha for speakers-

This would be taken care of through the funding proposal.

Venue costs-

The marae at the University of Waikato required a deposit to be paid, but the majority of the venue cost would come from the proposal for funding.

University map-

These were provided free of charge by Waikato University.

Newsletter completed and website formed-

The newsletter was completed and copies were ready to be sent, but the website was proving a bit more difficult. The author’s partner was prepared to commit to finish this before the whānau gathered.

Trust forms ready for whānau-

These had been collected and were ready to be presented after the representative from the Māori Land Court spoke about how to go about succeeding to each whānau trust.

Outline of Meeting roles-

The author collected an outline from the Hillary sports commission of each of the different roles for a trust, such as secretary, chairperson, trustees. The forms included details of how a meeting should be run and the functions of the various officers.

Historical journal completed-

The Journal task was quite complicated, as the author had to research many of the Maori Land Court records again to make ensure that all information was correct. Details such as where the name Rikihana came from amongst the whānau were uncovered, as was the full history of how the family received the land, and then lost the land, and whakapapa up to the grandfather and grandmother.

Te Kapowai whānau trust format-

As the author had designed this, the format and reasons for the structure of the trust were easy to explain.

Settlement team roles and responsibilities- issues for mandating

To go through this part of the process the author was hoping to have a representative from the Tribunal explain how to choose a settlement team.

In addition, the author managed to borrow the copy of a format for mandate for a particular iwi claim. This would serve as an example the whānau could follow.

The following extracts are from that handout and were originally from the booklet Healing the past, Building the future

A deed of mandate;

-States who has authority to represent the claimant group in negotiations with the crown

-Defines the claimant group, its rohe and the claims that are intended to be settled.

The crown worked out a formal procedure to make sure that the claimant groups provide definite proof that

-The crown is dealing with the right claimant group and representatives

-A process is in place for identifying as many claimant group members as possible

-The group’s representatives are properly mandated to negotiate the settlement of their historical treaty claims.

-A process is in place for dealing with any overlap between the group’s claims and those of other groups, e.g. when their particular rohe partly coincide with each other.

Once the crown is satisfied that the claimants have met these conditions, it can recognise the mandate to negotiate.

What is a deed of Mandate?

This is the formal statement prepared by the claimant group stating what the mandate covers and how the claimant group approved it.

Assessment of mandate by the office of treaty settlements,

OTS assesses deeds of mandate with advice from Te Puni Kōkiri.

The decision on whether to recognise the mandate is eventually taken by the minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi negations, and the minister of Māori affairs. When assessing a deed of mandate OTS and Te Puni Kōkiri are looking for an open, inclusive process, through which the prospective negotiators can show that they have received a mandate from the claimant group.

They must,

-Check that the deed of mandate describes the claimant group and the claims covered lists the group’s representatives and outlines the mandating process used.

-Check that the deed authorises the negation of a comprehensive settlement and that all the historical claims of the claimant group are included.

-Consider the supporting material to the deed.

- Consider the process for managing the mandated representatives, to make sure that it allows for all-important decisions to be made openly and fairly, with the opportunity for all eligible members of the claimant group to take part.

Ngāti Hei representative and benefits of operating under them

To implement this part of the Hui, the author intended to invite Peter Johnston the chairman of the Ngāti Hei Trust to speak with the whānau and to explain the whānau ties to Ngāti Hei and the benefits the whānau would receive through affiliating to Ngāti Hei.

Whānau representative letters-

For this part of the Hui, the author would need to make sure through the whānau newsletter that the different Trustees understood that for them to represent their whānau they would need letters of confirmation and that they were a whānau representative as mandated by their respective families.

Separate Whānau trust formats-

The different whānau would also need to form their own Trusts. For instance the whānau of Robert Dixon might form the Robert Dixon whānau trust and then select their own mandated representative.

Succession forms-

The author would make available at the Hui enough whānau succession forms for each whānau to do their own successions. This subject would also be discussed by the Māori Land Court representative.


For this segment of the Hui, the author would prepare a handout of the whakapapa down to the grandfather, Mana Mita Whakatau and his wife, Kahumeria Hekapa Netana, as well as organising a power point display on the whakapapa while highlighting different characteristics of the various tipuna.

Whānau registration form-database set-up

The author’s partner compiled a form that would give information that could be used to form a database for members and could be used to as part of a skills analysis in the future.

The information would be gathered onto a set database programme to aid the future needs of the trust.

The information requested in the registration form includes, the beneficiary’s name, address, date of birth, place of birth, contact details,

mother’s and father’s names and their parents’ names, list of birth dates of any children and their gender, school attended, last year of schooling, highest qualification achieved at secondary school, certificates received, tertiary education if any, work qualifications and personal interests such as hobbies.

Māori Land Court representative

It was hoped that there would be at least two representatives from the MLC to discuss issues with the whānau, to assist each whānau organise their own respective trusts and successions, and to discuss any problems they might encounter.

Business representatives

This part of the Hui would be dedicated to people with business experience, who have been successful in their own various fields, and who could answer different questions about possible whānau business ventures.

Business plan-

This portion of the Hui would be devoted to analysing in detail possible business ventures to narrow down the options and decide exactly which business venture might be the most profitable and practical.

Waitangi Hauraki findings-

This part of the Hui would be to update the family about the tribunal’s findings.

The preparatory planning had now been completed for one large Hui instead of the originally scheduled. The next mahi, was to sound out the whānau and see if they were keen for one larger Hui to wrap up the claim

The last contact the author had with the whānau was the meeting in Tauranga on 21 July 2002. Since that date the majority of the work for the claim had been carried out by the author and his partner. Te Puni Kōkiri funding was set up, (Capacity funding proposal, 30 June 2003) the author’s whānau (Tauranga Dixon whānau) had succeeded to their father’s land interests, and formed Te Kapowai whānau trust into a legal entity (29 March 2004). The trust had five trustees:

David Mita, who was also chairman, Barbra Rosson, Heeni Rikihana, Marama Dixon, and the author. All the work in preparation for the large Hui was complete, but during the time it took to finish the work and get ready, the iwi of Hauraki had been contending over which group had the mandate in the area, and the fractions had split off into two camps-those that stayed under the Hauraki Trust Board, and the other faction which went with Ngāti Maru.

The following is an excerpt from an article which was published in the Waikato times on Saturday 29 July 2006:

With the release of a Waitangi Tribunal report last month – which found that Hauraki Māori are among the most land deprived in the country just who negotiates for Hauraki for a multimillion-dollar settlement is in dispute. The Marutuahu working group, which claims to represent six Iwi including 80% of the Hauraki population, and the Hauraki Māori trust board, which claims to represent 12 Iwi including Marutuahu, both want the job.

The report from the Tribunal had been completed as the article stipulated in the previous month (6 June 2006). The report also served as a memorial to one of the Judges Dame Evelyn Stokes who had recently died. Dame Stokes was one of the Judges presiding over the case for the whānau. The respect for this Judge was immense; it was very sad that such a brilliant woman had passed away.

The report was three volumes long, and it touched on many issues relating to the whānau, including gold. According to the Crown under section 12.5.4 Whitianga (Mercury Bay), “Some gold was discovered at Kapowai in the headwaters of the Rangihau stream, a tributary of the Waiwawa River, but no mining occurred until 1898. A small amount of gold was extracted in the early 1900s”.

The Crown asserted: “Gold apart from land, was not considered a taonga in Māori culture.” (Executive summary, 5.1, The Hauraki Report vol 1, Waitangi Tribunal, 2006) This effectively shut the door on any form of redress for the extraction of gold from Te Kapowai or Coroglen as it is now known.

There were, however, several positive aspects that came out in the report. These included the statement that “the crown does accept that the particular feature of the Hauraki inquiry, and a factor contributing to the eventual outcome[s], is the combined effect of the facilitation alienation created by the native land laws, and a vigorous Crown land purchasing policy”. (Executive summary, es.7, The Hauraki Report, Vol 1 Waitangi Tribunal, 2006. pp. xxxviii-xxxix)

Furthermore, the Crown admitted:

It was appropriate for the Crown in the early 1860s to establish some sort of commission or tribunal to clarify customary land rights rather than leave this to land purchase officials. But there was little consultation with Māori or regard for Māori option as to the form and the practice of that tribunal, either at the outset or during the next 100 years.

It was not unreasonable that customary tenure should be modified to meet the needs of the commercial economy, including the aspirations of Māori to farm their own land. But the extent and nature of that modification was far too drastic and owed little to Māori wishes. The titles created facilitated alienation of the land by sequential purchase of undivided individual interests in titles, followed by a succession of partitions. The system destroyed the traditional balance between individual and community rights, fostered factional division and frustrated rather than assisted Māori aspirations for commercial farming, by either individuals or groups. Instead, it created a sense of fatalism among Māori as to the lands passing and a pauperising opportunity to obtain money for day-to-day needs by selling individual interests.

As crown witnesses have conceded, the native land act 1873 (under which most Hauraki land was alienated) did not include an adequate mechanism for community control over either alienation or development of the land.

The memorial of ownership created by those act-empowered title-holders to alienate the land and little else.

About 70% of Hauraki land was acquired by the crown between 1870 and 1914, most of it under crown monopoly through proclamations of crown pre-emption in 1872 and 1874 and under the government native land, purchases act 1877, which meant that Māori were prevented from selling or leasing on an open market.

The cost of securing land court titles (survey costs and court costs) commonly drew Māori communities into debt and eroded any potential advantage in securing the titles in the first place.

The Native land act 1909 attempted to deal with the increasing fractionation of Māori land titles by allowing decisions to be made at

‘meetings of assembled owners’. This resulted in considerable areas being alienated by majorities on the night, even though they might not hold a majority of all interests in the blocks concerned.

Each of these points from the executive summary .7 Land law and Purchase were relevant issues that the author had addressed within the whānau claim.

Other relevant findings that were of importance to the whānau claim were set out in the executive summary.6 Timber:

Timber leases, that is, the purchase of cutting rights, were made between Māori and timber millers, mainly in respect of Kauri, notably from the late 1850s. These were technically illegal, or at least extra-legal, but were condoned or assisted by crown officials. After 1865, fresh agreements were negotiated under the Native land acts, to formalise the previous ones, and some new agreements were also reached. Then in the 1870s, the government commissioned James Mackay to buy large areas systematically on the “Coromandel Peninsular. Mackay was in many cases already acting for the timber millers in their lease negotiations and suggested that the crown purchases be subject to Timber leases, in which the millers had invested heavily. Ministers agreed. The claimants have submitted that Mackay and the government colluded to drive down the price paid for the land. We do not consider that this case is made out. It is normal commercial practice to discount to discount the price for land when the resource that constituted much of its value has been sold. The fact that Mackay was acting for both the crown and the millers certainly suggests a conflict of roles, but such multi roles were not unusual in the nineteenth century.

On one hand, the government agrees with the author’s korero, but then the findings indicate:

Multiple roles by Mackay but that these roles were not unusual in the nineteenth century. Crown land purchase agents were generally directed to pay low prices for Māori land and it is not self evident that Māori would

have got better prices for the land had a different agent been employed.

The finding also found that Timber merchants also usually paid for the cost of surveys. The Native Lands Act 1867 allowed them to secure what was effectively a lien over the land for their advances, which commonly lead to private purchases of the land, especially at Whangapoua and Mercury Bay, as Māori struggled to redeem the debt (The Hauraki Report Vol 1, Waitangi Tribunal report 2006, Published by Legislation direct, Wellington, 2006, p. xxxvii)

Executive summary 9 pertaining to Taonga and Waahi Tapu, recognised that waahi tapu had not been looked after: “The Crown has acknowledged that where Māori requested reserves to be set aside for Urupa or waahi tapu, its fiduciary obligations required the crown to do so”

further on it states:

In practice, however, the nature of freehold titles, especially when held by private parties, meant that only where waahi tapu were pointed out and specific requests made for their reservation did the crown offer active protection and not always then. The loses of waahi tapu were therefore part and parcel of the alienation of the great bulk of Hauraki land (The Hauraki Report Vol 1, Waitangi Tribunal report 2006, Published by Legislation direct, Wellington, 2006, pp.xii-xiii.)

Also relevant to the whānau claim was Executive summary 12 relating to land taken under the Public Works Act, as part of the Oteao block had been taken for roading purposes and no compensation paid.

The Crown submitted that in considering whether Māori land should be taken for public works a balance has to be found between the Crown’s Kawanatanga rights under article one and the Rangatiratanga guaranteed by article 2. They accepted that in general Māori land should be taken for public works only where there are no other practicable options and after appropriate consultation with those affected.

The crown also submitted the following finding:

In general we find that the general notification procedures for the taking of Māori land were inadequate and disadvantaged Māori owners. This is partly the consequence of the creation, by the Crown, of a complex system of multiple ownership and the vesting of control of fractionated interests in the Māori Trustee, a crown official, rather than in Māori tribal authorities (The Hauraki Report Vol 1, Waitangi Tribunal report 2006, Published by Legislation direct, Wellington, 2006, pp. xiiii-xiiv)

Executive summary 13, Impacts on Māori uses of lands and waterways, was also relevant to the whānau as the Rangihau, Waiwawa and Oteao rivers were boundary rivers that were affected by mining and timber floating. The crown states: