The idea for a collective Tauranga Moana approach to the negotiations for settlement was raised early in 2009 as a means to get the three iwi onto the Crown’s priority list for negotiations.
Other benefits considered included a larger regional quantum, better use of resources and a better process for dealing with overlaps and contested matters.
Since the Terms of Reference for the collective were signed, the three iwi have been meeting regularly with the Crown negotiating team. Those discussions have been around a settlement for shared matters such as the harbour, Mauao and the return of Crown properties within the region.
The Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective comprises of three to four members from each Iwi. The representatives for Ngāi Te Rangi include lead negotiator Mita Ririnui, legal advisor and negotiator Spencer Webster, Project Manager Dr Riri Ellis together with Ngawa Hall and Erica Rolleston appointed by Te Hononga (Ngāi Te Rangi Hapū Forum).
The approach of TMIC does not preclude the individual iwi negotiations and settlement. Rather, the Collective allows each iwi settlement team to focus on their own specific redress whilst matters such as cross-claims and other issues generic to Tauranga Moana are dealt with by the Collective.
The Collective has identified four areas of priority – Mauao, the harbour, the return of Crown properties together with negotiating additional recognition for adopting a collective sub-regional approach to Treaty settlements. More work is required on these proposals before there is certainty with moving them forward in the Treaty negotiations process.