What is a claim?
Claims to the Waitangi Tribunal are allegations that the Crown has breached the Treaty of Waitangi by particular actions, inactions, laws, or policies and that Māori have suffered prejudice (harmful effects) as a result.
Once a claim is submitted, if it meets the criteria for registration, it will be considered by the Waitangi Tribunal.
The life of a claim
- A claim is submitted and assessed
- The claim is registered
- Claimant/s can now apply for funding
- Related claims are grouped together
- Research is carried out
- Hearings begin
- After the hearing: The Tribunal issues its report
Any Māori may submit a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal. We do, however, require certain information before we can proceed with a claim.
If a claim meets our requirements, it can now be registered. We will allocate a 'Wai' (short for Waitangi Tribunal claim) number for this claim. We will contact the claimant/s to notify them. We will also notify the Crown and other interested parties.
Once a claim is registered, it is eligible for legal aid.
The Tribunal groups claims together with one another depending on their issues. For example, claims that relate to a particular inquiry district or claims that are defined as generic/kaupapa (claims that do not relate to a particular inquiry district but concern broad national issues).
In 2001 and 2002, the Tribunal developed a new method for conducting a district inquiry. This was called the New Approach. In brief, the New Approach established the fastest possible process for inquiries, mindful of natural justice requirements.
Research can be carried out by the Tribunal, claimants and the Crown.
Hearings are held so that the Tribunal can hear evidence from claimants to substantiate their claims and from the Crown.
Once a hearing is completed for an inquiry, the Tribunal will release its findings. The Tribunal has released numerous and varied reports over the years. Once the Tribunal issues its report, claimants and Crown will consider their response.
Settlement negotiations are facilitated by the Office of Treaty Settlements.
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