The Waitangi Tribunal has recently granted applications made by claimants for an urgent hearing into the Crown’s actions in the Maniapoto mandate process and recognition of the Maniapoto Māori Trust Board’s Deed of Mandate.

In making the decision, the Tribunal stated that there is a reasonable basis for believing that there was a “considerable possibility” of a want of support from hapū for the mandate.

Although it remains to be seen what the outcome of the urgent hearing itself is, the Tribunal’s decision appears to reflect a pattern of increasing emphasis on the importance of hapū in the mandating process, particularly where hapū form the dominant political unit within the iwi seeking to settle its Te Tiriti o Waitangi Claims.

This includes ensuring mechanisms are provided for decision-making and involvement at hapū level, and providing feasible steps for hapū to opt out of the process.

The Tribunal’s decision serves as a reminder of how important it is to get the mandating process right from the start, and of the possible consequences when the mandate of a group can be questioned.

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