Two days for Treaty vote

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Representatives of claimant group Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa during the initialling of their agreement with the Crown at Parliament in May. Members have until Friday to vote on whether to accept the settlement involving a cluster of seven iwi and hapu in the Wairoa area.
Representatives of claimant group Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa during the initialling of their agreement with the Crown at Parliament in May. Members have until Friday to vote on whether to accept the settlement involving a cluster of seven iwi and hapu in the Wairoa area.

Members of Northern Hawke's Bay iwi have just two days left to vote on whether to accept one of the biggest settlements in the history of the Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal.

It's the latest step in the Crown's negotiations with Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa, a cluster of seven iwi and hapu which initialled the $100 million Deed of Settlement at Parliament in May.

Voting among members on whether it goes ahead closes on Friday at 5pm, but chairman Tamati Olsen said more than 1500 people registered with Te Tira have not yet voted.

It represents about half of the more than 3000 over-18s registered to vote, but with about 34,000 people estimated to be represented by the mandated authority, there are many who are yet to register.

Mr Olsen said the settlement has the ability to totally "transform the future of Wairoa iwi and the entire region".

"This isn't just about here and now," he said. "This is about the generations to come. It's for our tamariki and mokopuna. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be involved, to put our grievances behind us and build a better future for our people - economically, socially and culturally."

The voting process is crucial to the completion of the Treaty settlement journey for the Wairoa Inquiry District, which started more than 30 years ago.

It includes an historical account, acknowledgement and apology, covering the historical relationship between the iwi and hapū of Te Wairoa, and the Crown.

Cultural redress relates to sites of significance for hapū and iwi, and could mean a return of some sites to iwi, hapu and marae, and commercial redress is $100 million, less the purchase price of Crown assets.

- Information on the Deed of Settlement and how to vote is available at www.tetirawhakaemi.iwi.nz

- Hawkes Bay Today

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