The Araukuku hapu, which falls within the domains of both Ngaruahine and Ngati Ruanui iwi, lodged an application with the High Court in May, after it was denied an urgent hearing about its claims by the Waitangi Tribunal.
The hapu, led by applicant Lewis Ata Turahui, had sought a high court review as part of a ongoing quest to have its concerns heard.
In 1995, Araukuku filed a Waitangi Tribunal claim about land confiscated from it by the Crown in 1865, including a piece where the Stratford Power Station is located.
Its claim, known as Wai 552, was partially settled following Ngati Ruanui’s treaty settlement in 2003, but Araukuku was concerned about how Ngaruahine’s settlement deal would impact on them once passed into legislation.
Ngaruahine’s $67.5 million deal was formally signed in August last year.
In February, an application for an urgent hearing was made by Araukuku, with the hapu seeking for the Wai 552 claim to be taken out of Ngaruahine’s settlement and for land within its area to be returned to them.
Araukuku claimed they had been excluded from the group which negotiated the Ngaruahine settlement deal – and once legislation was passed, it would also settle the Wai 552 claim, leaving the hapu out in the cold.
However, tribunal member the Honourable Sir Douglas Kidd declined the hearing request, saying the hapu had a number of opportunities to approach the tribunal about its concerns from as early as 2010.
Kidd said the “same pattern of inaction” by the hapu followed at key points of Ngaruahine’s settlement and it wasn’t until February this year that they applied for a hearing – six months after Ngaruahine’s ratified deed was signed, in August last year.
Kidd said while there were “inconsistencies and inadequacies” in how the Crown engaged with Araukuku during its negotiations with Ngaruahine, approving a hearing would disadvantage the iwi and possibly delay the passage of its settlement legislation.
However, in the High Court Justice Joe Williams sided with Kidd and dismissed Araukuku’s application.
Court costs were awarded to the attorney-general, Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui and Nga Hapu o Ngaruahine Inc.