The Waitangi Tribunal has released the Maniapoto Mandate Inquiry Report.

The overarching issue in the report was whether the Crown breached the Treaty of Waitangi in recognising the Maniapoto Māori Trust Board’s mandate to negotiate the Ngāti Maniapoto settlement of historical Treaty claims with the Crown.

Overall, the Tribunal found that the Crown’s decision to recognise the Trust Board’s mandate was reasonable, given the Trust Board’s level of support and extensive involvement in previous settlements.

However, the Tribunal found that aspects of the Crown’s process in recognising the Trust Board’s mandate were not fair or undertaken in good faith. For example, the Tribunal found that the Crown:

  • Unreasonably prioritised its political objectives to complete settlements in a shorter timeframe over its Treaty relationship with Ngāti Maniapoto; and
  • Failed to protect the whanaungatanga between the claimants and the Trust Board.

The Tribunal gave a number of recommendations to help guide the Crown and parties towards reaching a long-lasting and robust settlement. These include that:

  • The Crown provide distinct recognition in the deed of mandate for certain hapū; and
  • The Crown prioritise its Treaty relationship with Ngāti Maniapoto by having an active regard to its duty of whanaungatanga.

The Tribunal’s decision is a reminder of the importance of having a robust mandate process to ensure a long lasting, durable, settlement.

For more information on mandate and the mandate process, please contact us.