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Encyclopedia > Waitangi Tribunal

The Waitangi Tribunal is a New Zealand court empowered to compensate Maori people for land obtained by fraud or by force since 1840. It was established by Act of Parliament in 1975, a time when protests about unresolved Treaty of Waitangi grievances were growing, to provide a legal process by which Maori Treaty claims could be investigated. Te Puni, Māori Chief Māori is the name of the indigenous people of New Zealand, and their language. ... 1840 is a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... In Westminster System parliaments, an Act of Parliament is a part of the law passed by the Parliament. ... 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1975 calendar). ... The Treaty of Waitangi The Treaty of Waitangi (Māori: Te Tiriti o Waitangi) was signed on February 6, 1840 at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. ...

The inquiry process contributes to the resolution of Treaty claims and, in that way, to the reconciliation of outstanding issues between Maori and Pakeha. The Waitangi Tribunal is unusual in that it was established as a permanent commission of inquiry. For this reason, it differs from a court in several important respects: Pakeha is a New Zealand English word for European New Zealanders, that is, New Zealanders of predominantly European descent. ...

  • Generally, the Tribunal has authority only to make recommendations. In certain limited situations, the Tribunal does have binding powers, but in most instances, its recommendations do not bind the Crown, the claimants, or any others participating in its inquiries. In contrast, courts can make rulings that bind the parties to whom they relate.
  • The Tribunal's process is more inquisitorial and less adversarial than that followed in the courts. In particular, it can conduct its own research so as to try to find the truth of a matter. Generally, a court must decide a matter solely on the evidence and legal arguments that the parties present to it.
  • The Tribunal's process is flexible - the Tribunal is not necessarily required to follow the rules of evidence that generally apply in the courts, and it may adapt its procedures as it thinks fit. For example, the Tribunal may follow 'te kawa o te marae'. In contrast, the procedure in courts is much less flexible, and there are normally strict rules of evidence to be followed.
  • The Tribunal does not have final authority to decide points of law. That power rests with the courts. However, the Tribunal has exclusive authority to determine the meaning and effect of the Treaty as it is embodied in both the Maori and the English texts.
  • The Tribunal has a limited power to summons witnesses, require the production of documents, and maintain order at its hearings. But it does not have a general power to make orders preventing something from happening or compelling something to happen. Nor can it make a party to Tribunal proceedings pay costs.

The Crown is a term which is used to separate the government authority and property of the state in a kingdom from any personal influence and private assets held by the current Monarch. ... This article is about the inquisitorial system for organizing court proceedings. ... The adversarial system (or adversary system) of law is the system of law, generally adopted in common law countries, that relies on the skill of the different advocates representing their partys positions and not on some neutral party, usually the judge, trying to ascertain the truth of the case. ...

Key points

  • The Tribunal does not settle claims; it only makes recommendations to the Government. It is not involved in the settlement process, and claimants agree not to pursue matters through the Tribunal while they are engaged in the negotiation process.
  • Claims are settled by negotiation with the Government. The Office of Treaty Settlementsmanages the negotiation of Treaty settlements for the Government, and all matters related to negotiations should be addressed to that office.
  • The Tribunal cannot make recommendations over the return of private land. It may inquire into and report on claims relating to land that is privately owned, but unless the land is memorialised, the Tribunal may not recommend that it be returned to Maori ownership or that the Crown acquire it. (Memorialised lands are lands owned, or formerly owned, by a State-owned enterprise or a tertiary institution, or former New Zealand Railways lands, that have a memorial (or notation) on their certificate of title advising that the Waitangi Tribunal may recommend that the land be returned to Maori ownership.)
  • The Tribunal can register the claim of any Maori with a grievance against a policy, practice, act, or omission of the Crown. The Tribunal is not required to check that a claimant has a mandate from any group, but it may refuse to inquire into a claim that is considered to be frivolous or vexatious.

The Tribunal process is inquisitorial, not adversarial. It seeks to get to the truth of the matter. The aim is to determine whether a claim is well founded. The New Zealand Railways Corporation (NZRC), trading as ONTRACK, is a State-Owned Enterprise charged with owning and maintaining New Zealands rail infrastructure. ...

See also

(Information here is condensed from the official Waitangi Tribunal site)

  Results from FactBites:
Waitangi Tribunal - Introduction (622 words)
Claims to the Waitangi Tribunal are complaints 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.
When receiving traditional evidence, the Tribunal requires reports based at least partly on oral interviews with claimants, and it requires oral evidence from claimants at hearings.
Geoffrey Melvin is a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand and a former registrar of the Waitangi Tribunal.
  More results at FactBites »



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