"We are standing up and saying. 'Hey! We are sick of government and government-run Maori agencies taking the very little of what is left in our kapata (cupboard)'" said Hune Papuni of the East Coast tribe Te Whānau-a-Takimoana. At a hui over the weekend, it was decided that tribal land situated within the Takimoana rohe be excluded from any Crown/Ngati Porou Treaty negotiations process or settlement and the Takimoana Government Deed of Constitution and Takimoana Governing Council Rules of Procedure were ratified as the final steps in setting up the whanau/hapu level government structure. More than 50 people attended the meeting in Rangitukia. The Takimoana tribal leadership assert that the tribes of the independent East Coast territory did not cede sovereignty to the British Crown in 1840, and so the New Zealand government has no legal right to rule them.
Te Whānau-a-Takimoana was an autonomous tribe of the independent northern East Coast territory of Aotearoa, which held complete sovereignty over the rohe before 1840. The Te Tiriti o Waitangi ki Te Tai Rawhiti (Maori version not English translation) signed at Rangitukia on June 1, 1840 was the prevailing treaty between Takimoana and Queen Victoria and Article 2 of the Tiriti did not cede sovereignty.
"It is about exercising our constitutional and sovereign rights, to attain a full measure of government over our territories including our foreshore, seabed, inland waterways, territorial seas, fisheries and airspace, to promote our own wellbeing, to put an end to the crimes and abuses committed against us by the New Zealand government, marginalisation of our human and property rights, the exploitation of our natural resources, to promote authentic biculturalism, social progress and better standards of life for all New Zealanders" said Tamati Reid of Rangitukia
A council of 16 kaitiaki (councillors) who are of Takimoana descent make up the new government body. The constitution and rules together provided the pathway towards the repossession of stolen lands and resources, and were instruments to convert theory into practice, he said.
"This kaupapa has been years in the planning. It's about our fundamental rights and freedoms to control our own destiny as promised to us in our treaty" said Tamati Reid. Kaumatua and Justice of the Peace Bob Kaa said he believed their initiative was sanctioned by the UN and could be the catalyst for a major shake-up of New Zealand's constitutional arrangements. One of the first priorities of the proposed government would be governance capability-building through strategies aimed at restoring the tribe's economic base. "Policy development on repossessing our foreshore and seabed and other lands unlawfully taken by successive settler governments will be a priority area for the Takimoana government," said Mr Kaa.
"It may take a long time for our people to do a U-turn of course — it took them 100 years to be colonised. This is not an anti-Pakeha movement — they are most welcome to come to the meeting. It doesn't discredit any Pakeha, nor does it aim to take away any of their rights — 99 percent of us have a significant amount of that ancestry ourselves."
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