Maori ownership of Auckland's volcanic cones and some Hauraki Gulf islands moved a step closer yesterday as the Crown signed off on the required paperwork and announced $400,000 in funding to administer the land.
The Government agreed two years ago that 14 maunga or volcanic cones, including Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill, Maungawhau/Mt Eden and Mt Albert would be vested to a group of 12 Auckland iwi and hapu known as the Tamaki Collective.
Yesterday the necessary deed of settlement was initialled by the Crown at the Auckland War Memorial Museum in a ceremony attended by Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson, Mayor Len Brown and Tamaki Collective representatives.
The volcanic cones will be co-governed by a body made up of Auckland Council, Tamaki Collective and Crown representatives, "for the express benefit of all the people of Auckland and mana whenua", Mr Finlayson said.
"This will be the first time Auckland's iconic volcanic cones will have had an integrated management plan, which will benefit the people of Auckland and build on the work already done in investigating the possibility of the maunga being designated a Unesco World Heritage site," Mr Finlayson said.
The Crown will contribute set-up costs of $400,000 for the co-governance body.
Day-to-day management of the cones will be handled by the Auckland City Council. On North Head the Department of Conservation will continue to manage the reserve. There will be no changes to existing public access and use rights and third party rights including infrastructure, buildings and leases would be maintained.
Mr Brown said the deal was an important milestone.
"It should provide a firm base for settling individual treaty claims and for new opportunities, including economic development and cultural expression."
The deed goes to members of each iwi and hapu for ratification before legislation is enacted in Parliament.
The deal also means Rangitoto, Motutapu, Motuihe and Tiritiri Matangi Islands will also be vested to the collective, which will vest them back to the Crown a month later.
The collective will retain ownership of the Rangitoto summit and two historical waka mooring sites.
The volcanic cones being vested to the Tamaki Collective:
Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill
Mt St John
Te Tatua a Riukiuta