As we take the first steps toward settlement with the crown, along with seven other iwi, this question is vital in how we plan our negotiation strategy.
As a people we must decide how we can create and develop our presence on the Maunga.
The negotiation team, which includes our own Haimona Maruera Jnr, Jamie Tuuta, Daisy Noble, Marty Davis, Hemi Sundgren and Liana Pauto got the lay of the land when they meet with the Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui Trust board recently.
The group outlined where the Crown currently sits and what redress could look like. And at this point, they say it will be an apology and cultural redress, in relation to the historical claims that relate to Taranaki Maunga.
The claim does not include any financial or commercial redress.
The negotiation team was then peppered with questions relating to mandate, budget, how all iwi can become part of the group when some only have looking rights, and the Department of Conservations role in the process.
The lively debate ensured the negotiation team were left in little doubt as to how the board felt and the board desire to ensure their people were bought with them through every aspect of the process.
The negotiation team says they have deliberately not sort to define the cultural redress section, because it can come in many forms.
There are key examples of cultural redress for other iwi around New Zealand that coud be replicated here – They include the Waikato and Whanganui Rivers where affected iwi leveraged the financial component to get other benefits.
Head negotiator Jamie Tuuta said the focus and the emphasis has got to be on Iwi aspirations.
“The starting point for negotiation is understanding what our collective aspirations are, and realise each iwi’s individual aspirations.
“We all recognise that this will not be easy, we are not at the start line yet.”