Open Letter to the Hon. Christopher Finlayson from Edwin Emery

Edwin Donald Emery

Email :

20 August 2014

Open Letter to the Hon. Christopher Finlayson

Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

Email :

Ref : Aukiwa Working / Advisory Group (so-called) referred to as the ‘working party’

Tena Koe Minister,

I am writing to you as a member of the hapu of Aukiwa and also as a taxpayer.

I am not a member of this working party – I was nominated at a hui for this group on 19 April 2014 at Waimahana : I declined.

I do however support/tautoko the perspective and viewpoint of Ronda Williams, as representative of the stance of the Maria Te Paeara Whakapapa line.

That stance has been articulated in communications to your office and that of OTS, (Office of Treaty Settlements) from Ronda Williams and constitutional lawyer, Gerald Sharrock.

Of relevance are your words of advice (your letter dated 27 January 2014)

“I encourage you, as a registered member of Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa and a landowner at Taemaro, to continue to engage in settlement discussions with the wider claimant group. It is important that your voice is heard and your views are taken into account. These discussions are an internal matter for Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa and I consider it would be inappropriate for the Crown to have an active role in these discussions at this stage.”

  1. In the establishment of this ‘working party’ the Crown has had an inappropriate active role right from the beginning and the subsequent process. A role that goes contrary to your own advice.(see above)
  2. This was made possible by the attendance at the establishment hui, 19 April 2014, at Waimahana by Crown ‘fix-it’ man Ben Dalton.
  3. Dalton bought along to this meeting lawyer, Moana Tuwhare, having no qualms advocating her as counsel. He further supported his position by saying he could readily access funding for a lawyer. She is now counsel for the ‘working party’ and compromised by her association with the Crown, effectively a Crown lawyer.
  4. In regard to Paeara as the tupuna from whom the land was taken : Dalton said it would be limiting to talk of the return of land to a specific tupuna as it was not agreed upon and the focus should be on the trust.
  5. To dismiss what he calls a specific tupuna is to deny the lawful rights of the owner of that land and the descendants of that tupuna, furthermore what entity,if any, the descendants put that whenua into is their business and not the prerogative of Dalton to patronize us by telling us our focus should be on a trust. More Crown interference. Mr. Dalton is whakahihi. Irrespective of Mr. Dalton’s role as mediator I find his manipulation repugnant. This behavior in an ancestral house only serves to draw the attention of my ancestors.
  6. The nomination of individuals for this working party was ad-hoc at best. It is not a true representation of the hapu. People on the day were nominated who were not present. Another person on the day eventually nominated herself Chairperson. At subsequent hui more people were nominated. It most certainly does not pass as a mandated group that is representative of the hapu.
  7. Following the 19 April 2014, Waimahana hui were a quick succession of hui at McDonald’s establishments at ridiculous hours like 6:30a.m. Insufficient notice and inappropriate venues just added to the comical farce of ‘musical hui’.
  8. The culmination of this was a meeting with OTS (Office of Treaty Settlements) negotiator David Tapsell. This meeting occurred without consultation with the hapu. Attending this meeting was Crown-paid (pending) lawyer Moana Tuwhare. Her presence at this meeting was not sanctioned by the hapu and indeed was not part of her brief. Others present included Janice Smith, self-appointed chairperson of the ‘working party’, and Norm McKenzie, nominated by Smith onto the ‘working party’. It should be stressed that this meeting was a meeting of individuals with Tapsell and not a group that had consulted or been sanctioned by the hapu.
  9. The disturbing outcome of this meeting was the ability of Tapsell to get an undertaking from these individuals that they would give OTS a running brief on what the ‘working party’ was doing. The Crown has absolutely no right to monitor the in-house processes of the hapu.
  10. The follow-on is that Tapsell is to have a meeting,21 August 2014, with these individuals again. Once again not constructive as they are not a true representation of the hapu.

My viewpoint is that there are some individuals who have jumped off the ‘NKKWTB boat’ and onto the ‘working party’ boat.

This lead to a ‘wash, rinse and repeat’ scenario.

It is not surprising then that we have the same issues raised again : lack of process, manipulation of information, minimal accountability, no accurate record of minutes, insufficient notice of meetings, venues for hui which are not practical and minimal dissemination of information.

Today Tuwhare has over $14,000.00 going into her account : for what ?

I assume as minister you sanctioned this funding.

I suggest you re-visit this until there is an itemized account, her hours and the completed documents she has produced as part of her brief.

This information then being made available to the hapu.

11. The arrival of this ‘gravy train’ (totaling $75,000.00 – including the funds above) will, I suggest, see more taxpayer revenue being squandered – as has happened with $750,000.00 that went to the Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa Trust Board.

I would appreciate your comments on the issues I have raised, in a timely manner.


Edwin Emery

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