Mana Wāhine Kaupapa Inquiry

Wai 2700 – the Mana Wāhine Kaupapa Inquiry will hear outstanding claims which allege prejudice to wāhine Māori as a result of Treaty breaches by the Crown. These claims extend across many fields of Crown policy, practice, acts and omissions, both historical and contemporary, and of related legislation, service provision and state assistance.

In memorandum-directions dated 20 December 2018 (Wai 2700, #2.5.8(external link)), the Chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal formally initiated the Mana Wāhine Kaupapa Inquiry and appointed Judge Sarah Reeves as Presiding Officer. The Chairperson then appointed Dr Robyn Anderson, Kim Ngarimu and Dr Ruakere Hond as panel members to this inquiry on 7 August 2019. Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith was subsequently appointed as a panel member on 23 November 2020.

Panel Members
Inquiry scope

The Presiding Officer confirmed the scope for the inquiry in memorandum-directions dated 22 July 2020, with the central question being the alleged denial of the inherent mana and iho of wāhine Māori and the systemic discrimination, deprivation and inequities experienced as a result (Wai 2700, #2.5.24(a)(external link)(external link)). Four pou frame the inquiry: rangatiratanga, whenua, whakapapa/whānau and whai rawa.

Tūāpapa hearings

The Tribunal is currently conducting initial hearings to provide a tūāpapa for the wider inquiry. These hearings focus on the tikanga of mana wāhine and the pre-colonial understanding of wāhine in te ao Māori.

The tūāpapa hearings are progressing on a regional basis. Three tūāpapa hearings were held in 2021, in Kerikeri, Ngāruawāhia, and in Whangarei respectively. In 2022, tūāpapa hearings are scheduled to take place in Whakatāne, the lower North Island and the South Island (specific locations yet to be confirmed).

See the Waitangi Tribunal Hearing Calendar(external link) for scheduled hearings.

Inquiry research programme

The Tribunal released an exploratory scoping report on 31 July 2020 (Wai 2700, #6.2.1(external link)). Exploratory scoping reports are prepared by Waitangi Tribunal Unit research staff to assist the Tribunal and parties to consider and address the evidential needs of an inquiry.

On 30 April 2021, following submissions in response, the Presiding Officer confirmed the following six research projects will be commissioned by the Waitangi Tribunal (Wai 2700, #2.5.49(external link)):

  • Overview Report 1: focussing on the theme of protection and the impacts of Crown actions, policy, practice and legislation on the ability of wāhine Māori to exercise rangatiratanga over their role, status and knowledge from 1840 to 1950.
  • Overview Report 2: focussing on the theme of equity and the impact of Crown policies, practices and legislation on disparities in outcomes and well-being for wāhine Māori from 1950 to c.2000.
  • Contemporary justice issues: a case study regarding equity and disparities in outcomes and well-being) for the period 1990 to 2018.
  • Representation and access to leadership opportunities for wāhine Māori: examining the effects of Crown policies, practices and legislation on the ability of wāhine Māori to access leadership, governance, political and decision-making roles, particularly in the state sector.
  • Employment related issues: focussing on the experiences of discrimination and inequity faced by wāhine Māori in employment contexts.
  • Contemporary economic issues: focussing on the impact of Crown policies, practices and legislation on wāhine Māori.

A number of research projects for the Mana Wāhine inquiry are also being undertaken independently from the Waitangi Tribunal. These additional research projects are being facilitated through the Mana Wāhine Joint Research Committee (Wai 2700, #3.1.410(external link)).

The terms of reference for the Joint Research Committee was filed on 28 August 2020 and list the following objectives (Wai 2700, #3.1.273(b)(external link) at [2.9]):

  • To ensure high-quality, comprehensive research is filed on the Record of Inquiry to support the claims.
  • To advocate for such research as is required to support the claims.
  • To ensure that Crown funding is used in the best way possible to advance the interests of the claimants within the Inquiry.
  • To oversee the production of claimant research for the Inquiry.
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