Ngāti Rangitihi iwi members have voted in support of a new Post-Settlement Governance Entity (PSGE) to continue their negotiations with the Crown towards reaching a Treaty settlement. Voting results were announced today, with 92.16% of valid votes cast supporting the establishment of a new Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi PSGE and Trust Deed.
Voters also supported resolutions to approve the new PSGE continuing settlement negotiations (92.47%) and to appoint the current trustees of Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi Trust (Te Mana) to be the initial trustees of the new PSGE (88.15%). Te Mana Chairman Leith Comer says he is pleased with the results, which follow a four-week ratification process to engage iwi members and encourage them to have their say. “This is a very positive outcome, and we are delighted to see our people continue to have confidence in the Trust and our trustees to move this kaupapa (matter) forward,” he says. “On behalf of the Trust, I extend my heartfelt thanks to all those who voted and played a part in helping us achieve this next step in our settlement haerenga (journey).” Mr Comer says the ratification of the new PSGE is a standard part of the settlement process required by the Crown, but it can be a complex matter to explain to iwi members. “It was important for us that our whānau understood the reasons for this ratification,” he says. “We put a great deal of time and effort into ensuring our people had the opportunity to give feedback and ask questions through regular pānui (newsletters), information hui across Aotearoa, social media and livestreaming.” The current Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi Trust was set up as a PSGE in 2009 to administer the Ngāti Rangitihi redress received as part of the Central North Island Forests Settlement. Since then, the Crown has developed a new template trust deed for individual iwi settlements.
“We needed a new PSGE with a new trust deed to meet the Crown’s requirements,” Mr Comer says. “Our new PSGE and Trust Deed will enable Ngāti Rangitihi to receive its settlement redress once the settlement is enacted, and it will protect the settlement for the future.” The voting results are now with the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and the Minister for Māori Development, who will decide if the results show ‘sufficient support’. “There is no doubt that the voting results are positive and we are confident we have fulfilled the criteria required by the Crown,” says Mr Comer. “We look forward to completing our negotiations with the Crown by the end of the year and having our deed of settlement ratification in the first quarter of 2020.” Pending Ministerial approval of the voting results, Te Mana intends to hold a Special General Meeting in September 2019 to gain approval from members to transfer the assets to the new Te Mana PSGE and dissolve the existing Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi Trust. Following approval from registered adult members at the meeting, the existing Trust will be officially replaced by the new Te Mana PSGE, who will take on the mandate to negotiate the Ngāti Rangitihi settlement. Mr Comer says that he and his fellow trustees are urging all Ngāti Rangitihi descendants to register with the Trust if they have not yet done so. “If you whakapapa to Ngāti Rangitihi and you are 18 or over, you can vote on our Deed of Settlement next year – this is such an important time and we want all our whānau involved.”