Balancing Hapu and Iwi (Central and Local) Interests



          Angeline Greensill, Lecturer in Geography, University of Waikato




What is balance? - for the purposes of this paper I will use the term "Balance" to mean equalise or make equal or in Maori whakarite to "make alike" or "like".


My objectives in presenting this paper are to show how "un-alike" or "unbalanced" some hapu and iwi to which I belong have become; to discover what has caused this "imbalance", and offer positive ways in which whanau and hapu can begin to reclaim their rangatiratanga and restore the "balance."


We as Maori people are currently experiencing the impacts of a restructured, corporatized and globalized world.  We are in crisis.  It is apparent that the experiences many of us enjoyed as whanau and hapu are not being enjoyed by our children who have grown up surrounded by increased urbanisation and consumerism.  It is my contention that if we are to survive colonization by capital we will need to resurrect and draw upon those values that we inherited from our tupuna.


Colonisation, treaty settlements and globalization continue to be the perpetrators of these “imbalances”.  Whereas in the past, colonisation imposed western values on hapu and expropriated our taonga, today a more insidious form of colonisation by capital or corporation is occurring and hapu are once again the main casualty.  The effects of this daily erosion of hapu rights over time can be readily seen when one views the status of some of my hapu prior to the outcome of the Waikato raupatu settlement, and now.  Hapu continue to survive practices which by their nature are disempowering, dehumanizing, western, autocratic and capitalist in origin.


The Waikato Raupatu Lands Settlement underpins my paper Tainui: A Case Study.  The impacts of that 1995 settlement are so profound that it continues to affect hapu and whanau members today.


My paper today first of all will discuss hapu and iwi, drawing attention to the imbalances that exist as a result of Crown and Maori authorities collusion. The second section will discuss, "Tainui: A Case Study". That will highlight current concerns about the imbalance created by the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Settlement.


While I acknowledge that whanau are the foundation stones of our society, my emphasis today is on "hapu".  Over the last 20 years, Maori with vested interests in conjunction with successive governments, have weakened the existence of whanau and hapu political decision-making structures.  Hapu as traditional repositories of treaty guarantees, are systematically being replaced by “Iwi Authorities” whose legitimacy is founded not in the hapu or in the Treaty of Waitangi but in statutes enacted in a Westminster style parliament.


Whanau, hapu and iwi relationships therefore continue to be undermined as a result of government manipulation and imposed statutory frameworks which redefine and subjugate traditional Maori tikanga.


Presently processes promoted by "Iwi Authorities" actively encourages whanau members to redefine their identities and tikanga to qualify as beneficiaries of settlements which are promoted as delivering benefit some time in the future.  By so doing those whanau and hapu members, perhaps unknowingly contribute to cultural engineering which speeds up the severing of their knowledge of ancestral links - whakapapa.


Because of “Iwi Authorities” manipulation (in collusion with the Crown), hapu interests have not only become "unbalanced", but have become invisible, subordinate and subjugated and consigned to cargo cult status.  Iwi Authorities owe their existence to the legislation which empowers them to make decisions normally made by hapu.  Such a practice contravenes Article II of the Treaty of Waitangi which confirms and guarantees absolute power to hapu.


The Crown and its imposed western structures fails to recognize tino rangatiratanga and by doing so undermines the political autonomy of hapu to such an extent that under the present treaty settlement processes, the Minister of Treaty Settlements arbitrarily decided that he would negotiate directly with statutary iwi-based organizations, who in turn claim benefits on behalf of hapu with or without their consent.


The Minister has implied that the tribal organisations will simply represent dissenting hapu anyway and if they're not happy, then that's too bad.1


According to the Principal Negotiator for the Waikato Raupatu settlement:


"Hapu exist only in concept, only in the head.  Hapu is a myth, with no formal structure.  The marae are concrete entities and existing communities"2

Not a bad rate of return - 170 million dollars for 33 myths.


In contrast, Walker3, maintains that the hapu was the political land-holding group.  Their identity and existence was inextricably linked with the lands and waters with which they had longstanding tenure.  Warfare, combined with population increase impelled related-hapu chiefs to form "iwi-confederations" under the leadership of an Ariki.  Walker is supported by Justice Durie.


Durie 4 contends that in Maori society the power moves from the bottom up i.e. whanau to hapu to iwi, as compared with western society where power is from the top down.  Durie doubts "whether there was ever a single authority to govern Waikato, or the greater part of the South Island", and further states, "iwi largely reached prominence in the post-European (1840-onwards) period".5


However Durie goes on to say "it is the right of all people to develop new structures in response to new situations".6 Maori society is not to be seen as an embryo still to develop the organs of state, but is one that is antithetical to centralist control?7   Maori governance must be concerned not just with the assumption of power, but equally with its appropriate division and with the responsible exercise of such power, as it has, in the interests of everybody.8


You can see the distinction between hapu and iwi is now considerably at cross purposes.  So where is the balance?  Where once whanau and hapu made decisions by consensus, sadly today the picture in Waikato is reflected in the following table.




Traditional Methods                   Contemporary Methods


whanau and hapu                                                    INCSOC, "iwi Authorities"


non-compliance & dissent not tolerated                                          acceptable


micro-level                                      macro level


all affected had right to speak Hapu no longer permitted only through a marae delegate

                                  INCSOC, TGH, WRLTI, PTWWT, externally approved sanctions viz TOKM


decisions made by consensus                                                                                                                                       now autocratic made by 12



Whakapapa determined rights must now sign your allegiance to Kingitanga and produce a written whakapapa for entry


decisions followed debate fait accompli presented by Powerpoint



On the other hand the shift between hapu and iwi has become extremely important for those who seek eligibility for benefits from treaty settlements assets.  For example to be recognized by TOKM to receive quota and other assets, iwi have to fulfil criteria, taken from the repealed Runanga Iwi Act 1990.  One of the criteria is that the existence of an "iwi" must be traditionally and widely acknowledged by "other iwi". Nothing in the Treaty of Waitangi specifically guarantees tino rangatiratanga to "iwi".  In fact the word "iwi" is notably absent although "nga tangata katoa" could be interpreted to be "iwi" (people), as opposed to "iwi" (hapu confederation).  Despite this iwi are being promoted as the most appropriate governance structure to negotiate and settle with.


The Court of Appeal in 1996 dealt with the meanings of "iwi" and "Maori" and rather than adopting the more traditional approach, of "iwi" - being a larger grouping of hapu - based on whanaunatanga, whakapapa, and tangata whenua status, it decided in favour of including Maori within the definition of "iwi", meaning "nation" or "people" (as defined by Williams).


Just as the Court of Appeal in 1986 decided the "Principles of the Treaty", so too the matters of whether allocation should be to iwi, bodies representing iwi, or, "only to traditional tribes (hapu)", will be decided not by Maori but by a Judge of the High Court in a forum more conclusive to adversity than consensus.  No balance exists here.


So despite all the arguments the final beneficiaries will be whanau, hapu and iwi, for irrespective of where they live, all Maori have links through whakapapa to a whanau, hapu or iwi.



"Tainui: A Case Study"




I begin 'Tainui: A Case Study' with the question - who or what is Tainui?  The word, Tainui, means both Tainui the waka and Tainui the hapu.  It is also a confederation of 5 iwi made up of hapu of the Haua, Hauraki, Maniapoto, Raukawa, and Waikato, who are located within the rohe of Tainui waka.  Those who have migrated south like Ngati Toa and Ngati Koata, still belong through Whakapapa to the Tainui waka.  Guy Royal wrote in 19959  "there is no doubt that bodies established under paternalistic 1950s legislation can be legitimately questioned to represent Maori or iwi affiliated with those bodies.  Many trust boards names are misnomers: The "Tainui Trust Board" does not and has never been a representative body of all Tainui waka descendants nor Tainui tribes."


The Tainui Maori Trust Board was established under the Waikato-Maniapoto Settlement Act 1946, to administer an annual fund of five thousand pounds for the benefits of the Tainui tribes and their descendants.  The descendants were owners 10 [according to Maori custom] of the 1.2 million acres of lands in the Waikato district which were confiscated in the mid 1860's.


In the 1947 the Tainui Maori Trust Board Annual Report, 15 geographical divisions with respective iwi were listed.  The Tainui and Ngati Tahinga iwi (from Port Waikato to south of Whaingaroa Harbor) are listed as belonging to the Tainui division.


In 1955 the Maori Trust Board Act was introduced to provide a standard administration procedure for dealings with the crown.  In 1960 and 1985 other hapu and iwi outside the confiscation area were added to the 1946 list of beneficiary hapu,, while some who had suffered land confiscation were removed.  Over 50 hapu who historically lived within the raupatu/confiscation boundaries have effectively been excluded from receiving any benefit if they chose to retain their hapu name.  This decision was made by the Tainui Maori Trust Board based on comments allegedly made by Te Puea.


Those who are entitled to benefit from the Waikato-Tainui raupatu settlement, one would presume, would be the same hapu or iwi as those original hapu entitled in 1946 and before.


Tainui the hapu - has cared for taonga in the Tainui-Awhiro rohe for over a thousand years.  Tainui rangatira lost lives and lands at Rangiriri and Taranaki, and had their autonomy destroyed through confiscation and fraudulent deals which reduced the economic base of Tainui the hapu.


In the 1960s the Tainui local tribal committee took over the management of kaimoana beds and opposed plans by numerous commercial fisherpersons to establish farms in Whaingaroa (Raglan) Harbour.  Since then Tainui the hapu have experienced continuous battles with well-resourced local councils, over issues such as rating, lands, roading, public works and sewage disposal.  These local councils have won all but one case -- the most infamous of all being the so-called Raglan Golf Club case.  Unfortunately the same success in protecting hapu and iwi rights from the predatory antics of the now defunct Tainui Maori Trust Board have so far proved elusive.  In effect Tainui the hapu has been marginalized by the Tainui Maori Trust Board and continues to be ignored by the present new commercial structure.  The Tainui Maori Trust Board was legislated out of existence two years after the signing of the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Settlement.  In a similar vein Tainui the hapu suffered the ignominy of being renamed as "Tainui Awhiro" in the Settlement Act 1995.  The once proud name "Tainui" has been commodified by the Tainui Group Holdings Ltd, for 6 million dollars and emblazones bricks and mortar, such as a proposed sports stadium in Hamilton.





Post-Settlement Era Following Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claim


The now defunct Tainui Maori Trust Board has been replaced by Tainui Group Holdings Ltd, Te Kaumarua and Te Kauhanganui under two separate pieces of legislation, in conjunction with their arbitrarily enforced in-house rules.


If you recall the Tainui Maori Trust Board was responsible for 15 divisions and 33 hapu who suffered raupatu.  Today Tainui Group Holdings Limited’s whole objective is to grow the financial asset provided for in their settlement - some 100 million dollars.  The land holding Trust and its subsidiaries receives rental from properties leased to various corporations and Waikato University and from sales of land.


Te Kauhanganui (tribal assembly) make up this section of the corporate organization.  Te Kauhanganui consists of 183-members, i.e. 3 members each from 61 marae (some of which are outside of the original confiscation area), that are located within the Waikato rohe.  Nowhere does hapu feature in the new equation.


Tekaumarua consists of 12 members - four were previously Tainui Maori Trust Board members, four are custodial representatives, four are selected to represent all 61 marae.  Originally there were 15 members representing the 15 geographical divisions, and an honorary position for Te Arikinui's representative.  Today only four people represent the interests of 61 marae.  Te Arikinui previously had one representative - now there are four people appearing for her - all others are self-appointed ex Tainui Maori Trust Board members.


Returning to my theme “finding a balance” of representative interests, balancing the needs, meeting the objectives of the Raupatu settlement, it is obvious that in the new corporate structure hapu are no longer encouraged to participate but signatory maraes are. So what is the whakapapa of a marae - a concrete entity?


This document, 'Tainui: A Case Study', highlights the subjugation of hapu rights and interests beneath those of the Corporate iwi.


Lands were held by hapu, resources were held and managed by hapu, decisions should still be made by hapu.  Tainui the hapu hasn't rescinded its power - it still makes its own decisions and pays the price for being excluded from treaty settlements.  Tainui the hapu refused to signed the pledge and enjoin the Raupatu settlement.  Tainui the hapu refused to compromise its position and allow its marae Te Kopua to accept many thousands of dollars (approximately 45,000 dollars annually).  Tainui the hapu has made its decision not to accept the settlement deal that was flawed from the outset.  A deal that has eroded their mana-whenua, their tino rangatiratanga, and their treaty rights.


A constant theme that accompanied the negotiations of the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Settlement was:




I riro whenua atu, me hoki whenua mai Ko te moni, hei utu mo te hara


As land was taken so land should be returned. The money is to pay for the crime.


My questions remain unanswered - whose land was taken?  To whom was it returned?  What was the crime?  What money was paid.  And to whom?





It is contended that the processes used in the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Settlement were flawed from the outset and provided no opportunity to resolve grievances without inflicting new ones upon whanau and hapu.  Instead of dealing with criticisms raised about processes, the Crown unwaveringly supported those they chose to negotiate with, completing the settlement according to their own timeframe and under the rules they had set.  Although legitimate mandates, accountability, fair process and natural justice were requirements established by the Crown, they were never enforced to a level hapu demanded.


Accountability to hapu members related through whakapapa is more direct and effective than at a "pan-iwi" level.  While there are some successes for tribal management through iwi authorities, historically it has been the local governance that has worked most effectively.


Finally in closing, how do you restore the balance?


The kuia rangatira of my hapu decided the best way to protect our lands and resources was to declare an Independent State on which we could assert our rangatiratanga.  She informed Queen Elizabeth, the New Zealand government, and duly declared our land independent in February 1996.


We need to revisit, resurrect and use our values of aroha, manaakitanga, utu, kotahitanga, wairuatanga, whanaungatanga, reciprocity and respect the links we all have through whakapapa.  Although societies change, we don't need to mimic the global capitalist topdown models but need to revisit our recent past and discover, adapt and use models based on our tikanga and values to meet the challenges of te ao hurihuri.


I raise the question Justice Durie also raised two years ago the question is bigger than which is the tribe - the hapu or the iwi?  It is really about management today, whether to take a "bottom up" or "top down" approach or whether one can take advantage of both?


Finally let us all remember, without whanau, and hapu there is no iwi.  Is that the balance and vision we seek for the future?






1 Morgan J, (1997), Negotiating with Hapu Impossible - Graham, The Dominion, 15 October 1997, p 10

2 Hubbard, A (1995), Tainui's Greener Pastures, The Listener, 24 June 1995, 22

3 Maori Congress Executive Meeting Book, (1996), Sovereignty, Colonial and Post-colonial discourses, 2-4 August, p67

4 Durie, E T, (1997), Session on Aboriginal Autonomy: Paper for Conference on Treaty of Waitangi Maori Political Representation.  Pipitea Marae, Wellington, 1 May

5 Gordon, H (1993), Submission to Waitangi Tribunal regarding Ngati Paoa on the appointments of the first commissioners to TOKM.

6 lbid, Note 4

7 Durie, E T, 1 997), Governance, Paper for Conference, Strategies for the Next Decade, Wellington

8 Ibid, Note 7


9 Royal, G, (1995), Whakapapa - Does it continue to be the basis of Maori representation?,  Takapau, Opinion Column, Issue 2, 21 July

10 A list of 89 of those hapu who suffered confiscation are found in the Journals of the House of Representatives 1860.