WAI 776 Claimants

Name: WAI 776 Claimants
Entity Type: Collaborative Group
Affiliations: Te Pūtahi Paoho, Hautaki Limited, Te Huarahi Tika Trust, WAI2224 claimant group, Ngā Kaiwhakapūmau i te Reo, The 
Industry Sector: Spectrum
Date Established: 1999


Early claims by the New Zealand Maori Council and Nga Kaiwhakapumau i Te Reo in 1990/91 had sought access to FM for Maori radio development before the Waitangi Tribunal. The Tribunal unanimously agreed in its Wai 150 report that, in relation to the auction of FM radio frequencies, iwi had a ‘prior interest’ in radio spectrum.

In 1999 Rangiaho Everton took a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal on behalf of Māori arguing that the Crown did not have right to create property rights around spectrum and should not assume ownership.

The Waitangi Tribunal agreed in a majority decision that Māori had fair and equitable access to the spectrum.

This ‘prior interest’ was advanced again by Whatarangi Winiata, Graeme Everton, and the late Rangiaho Everton, when the Government continued with the sale of valuable spectrum later in the 1990s. One particular kind of spectrum was the cellphone fixed-point mobile band in the 2-gigahertz band (known by the modern acronym 3G (for 3rd generation)). Its sale led to a further claim by Rangiaho Everton, which succeeded at an interim, and later, a full Waitangi Tribunal hearing in 1999. The Crown noted these reports, but rejected the idea that Maori had an Article 2 interest in the radio spectrum. The Trust was born out of this Crown maneuver to outflank Tribunal recommendations in relation to its spectrum auctions.

While rejecting the reports from the Waitangi Tribunal, the Crown unilaterally decided in 1999 to create:

  • a reservation of a ‘joint development right’ over one quarter of the 3G spectrum for sale, whereby Maori would have to enter into a viable contract with a commercial partner for use of that spectrum; and
  • a charitable trust, known as the Māori Spectrum Trust, to represent Maori interests and receive $5m by way of a grant from the Crown.


The Radio Spectrum Management and Development Interim Report, (Wellington: Legislation Direct, 1999), 18pp Wai 776
The Radio Spectrum Management and Development Report, (Wellington: Legislation Direct, 1999), 100pp Wai 776


Key People:

  • Graeme Everton
  • Rangiaho Everton
  • Whatarangi Winiata

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