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3 August 2007
Whanganui Māori and the Crown will gather at Pūtiki Wharanui Marae next week to begin presenting evidence to the Waitangi Tribunal on the Whanganui district inquiry (Wai 903).
All are welcome to attend the Whanganui hearings. Tangata whenua groups from all over the Whanganui inquiry district will present evidence. The first hearing week starts next Monday from 6 to 10 August 2007.
Next week’s hearing begins with a pōwhiri and the presentation of customary domain kōrero from the Whare Wānanga o Whanganui led by Rangatihi Tahuparae. The Tribunal will hear evidence from two claimant groups, Te Poho o Matapihi Trust and Tūpoho hapū. Three technical reports will be presented exploring the relationship between Whanganui Māori and the Crown from 1840 and, in particular, the effects of the 1848 Whanganui purchase.
Media coverage is not permitted for the customary domain kōrero on the morning of Monday 6 August or for the evidence of John Tauri on Wednesday 8 August.
Issues in the inquiry include the early 'purchase' of Whanganui lands by the New Zealand Company; Native Land Court and Crown purchasing of Māori land in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; the vesting and management of land in the twentieth century; public works takings; the foundation of the Whanganui National Park and the main trunk railway; the creation and management of native townships; and issues of authority and kaitiakitanga of the environment.
The Whanganui lands inquiry, presided over by Judge Carrie Wainwright, encompasses over 50 claims covering an area stretching from the mouth of the Whanganui River to just north of Taumarunui. It also takes in lands around the Whangaehu River and Waiouru in the east and the catchment area of the Waitotara River in the west.
From August 2007 to December 2008, there will be 14 and a half weeks of hearings on the inquiry.
The confirmed hearing dates for 2007 are:
Week 1: 6–10 August 2007