Thinking about entering direct negotiations with the Crown to settle your Treaty of Waitangi claim?  You may be asking some of these questions:

What requirements does my claim have to meet?

To enter into direct negotiations, the Crown must accept that your grievance is well founded.  Your claim does not have to go through the Waitangi Tribunal process first, but must be well set out and supported by quality research.

Will the Crown negotiate with me alone?

The Crown’s policy is to negotiate with large natural groups of claimants with related tribal interests.  You will probably be required to work together with other claimants.

Who represents my claim?

Representatives must be given a mandate by the claimant community, which must then be approved by the Crown following an extensive process.  The representatives are required to communicate with claimants throughout the negotiations process.

Who represents the Crown?

The Office for Māori Crown Relations – Te Arawhiti is a Crown body that reports to the Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations (currently the Honourable Paul Goldsmith).  The Office for Māori Crown Relations – Te Arawhiti negotiates settlements and coordinates other Crown bodies involved.

Do I need to fund the negotiations?

Currently, funding for legal services is available from the Legal Services Agency.  The Government plans to change this to the Office for Māori Crown Relations – Te Arawhiti later in the year, which already funds most of the negotiations process.

Preparing for negotiations can be a difficult process, and claimants will have to make big decisions and deal with complex issues and documents.  It is therefore important to get sound professional advice from experienced experts prior to, and during, the negotiations process.