Ngati Wai O Ngati Tama Trust is a registered charitable trust which was established in 2003 by the descendants of Te Kaeaea. That came about because the hapu perceived the need to have an accountable body to represent their interests in on-going negotiations with the Crown concerning their Port Nicholson Block Treaty Claims. Accordingly the hapu mandated the trust’s first five trustees to represent them – they were John Chadwick, Sheryl Connell, Eldon Potaka, Michelle Marino and Errol Churton.

It has been a frustrating journey for the trustees with many twists and turns. For instance, when it came to the question of who would represent Ngati Wai o Ngati Tama on the Port Nicholson Block Group team only one of the 12 seats was allocated to us which led the trustees to nominate John Chadwick as their representative. Instead, another person who did not have a mandate was appointed and that’s how it has been ever since.

It was that setback that encouraged the trustees and our Porirua-based counterparts (Ngati Kuera O Ngati Tama) to join together and seek the right to negotiate our claim outside of the main Port Nicholson Group because we believed we had been marginalised by them. It was the Hon Margaret Wilson who recognised the justness of our cause and she agreed we could “go it alone”. This is the first time this has happened in treaty negotiations which basically follows a rule that a claim can only be negotiated under the one tribal umbrella.

On behalf of the hapu, Ngati Wai o Ngati Tama Trust has continued to be the representative body for Claims WAI-377 and WAI-474. A company called Ngati Tama Mandate Ltd has been registered which has equal shareholding and director allocation with Ngati Kuera o Ngati Tama. We are now waiting for our turn to come up on the list of claimants who have yet to enter into the negotiation process with the Crown – with one exciting exception.

Wallaceville in Upper Hutt has suddenly made its way onto the front pages because of a proposal that it be leased in its entirety to a Hollywood Film studio. We are right in the middle of this proposal because one of the first recorded owners of land in Wallaceville was our tupuna Te Kaeaea. So when the film proposal was mooted it became readily apparent that this was State Owned Enterprise land that needed to be land-banked for Treaty claim purposes and in a very real sense our trustees felt that our tupuna’s kainga and whenua and been returned to us by fate – even though that is some way into the future when that eventually happens. But make no mistake, we are perfectly positioned.

The trust was formed in response to our treaty claim. As has been the experience of other treaty claimants elsewhere, the journey has had to face up to many challenges. Those challenges have come at us from outside of our rohe and range from the Crown to overlapping claimants. More unsettling, are the challenges that have come at us from within our own kin group and they raise issues of power and control, mandate and alleged ownership of claims. It is no surprise that this experience is common to all claims and we have had our share. We don’t see any mileage in going into those matters here because the trustees have better news to give.

At the end of the day the single most important thing that sustains a Maori’s identity is his or her whakapapa. In the relatively short journey of our trust so far we continue to discover the joy and binding power of whakapapa as we research it and continue to uncover and identify the “lost ones” who we are bringing into the fold. Giving our lost whanaunga a voice and an identity has been important for them and for us because we continue to add to our membership base.

This has led the trust to expand the number of trustees to include families who a year ago we did not know existed. Michelle Marino and Errol Churton recently resigned as trustees and have been replaced by new members keen to serve – they are named below.

In the past 8 years the trust has continued to work together as a team. We have had some great successes and many disappointments too – they may be challenging but they do not get us down because our hapu march is definitely forward and upward. Even though we have not got anywhere near the negotiating table yet, our trustees can already see the benefits of whakapapa research and sharing and hapu development – and with the launch of our website, we are now ready to share this with the world


• John Chadwick • John Cribb
• Sheryl Connell • Susan Osborne
• Eldon Potaka • Justin Enoka
• Mahanga.Williams • Wiremu.Barriball

The Crown has, on the release of the Waitangi Tribunal findings regarding the claims of Port Nicholson, acknowledged the claim that Ngati Tama were in Wellington during the settlement period, prior to and after 1840 and have a rightful claim to redress in terms of breaches of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. In evidence of this the Crown, acknowledged in the report that Ngati Tama have the right to negotiate their own grievance.

In 2005, with consultation and approval from the hapu, the Trust entered a Memorandum of Understanding with our Porirua-based brethren, Ngati Tama ki te Upoko o Te Ika Incorporated Society (referred to above as Ngati Kuera O Ngatii Tama) who filed WAI 735. Many from this roopu are also descendents of Ngati Tama tipuna present in Whanganui a Tara in 1840 and many descend from Te Puoho, who was the elder brother of Te Kaeaea.

The Memorandum of Understanding was created to unify the collective direction of the Ngati Tama claimants, WAI 377, 474 and 735 for the Port Nicholson Block claim.

In 2009, Ngati Wai o Ngati Tama Trust sought agreement from the hapu to seek a Crown mandate to begin a negotiation process. The Crown put forward that they wished to see both Ngati Tama groups united under one entity. As a result the Trust followed the process set down by the Crown and three representatives from our Ngati Wai O Ngati Tama Trust including three representatives from the Ngati Tama ki te Upoko o te Ika group were joined together under the incorporated body “ Ngati Tama Mandate Limited” as referred to above.

We continue to work together with Ngati Tama ki te Upoko o te Ika Incorporated Society towards a unified Ngati Tama. It is not too much to expect that the greater vision resulting from our collective endeavours is the restoration and return of the pan-tribal entity of Ngati Tama – the tribe, Ngati Tama – the Iwi.

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