A $6.2 million Treaty of Waitangi settlement will help a Far North iwi create training opportunities and scholarships for whanau and hapu, the chairman says.
After 15 years of negotiations the Crown signed a Deed of Settlement with Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa on December 18, settling the iwi's historical Treaty of Waitangi claims. The Bill passed its first reading in Parliament last month.
The settlement includes a financial redress of $6.2 million and will give iwi ownership of 15 cultural sites, including 2275ha of the Stony Creek Station, about 10km south of Mangonui.
David Manuel, chairman of Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa's post-settlement governance entity, Kahukuraariki Trust, said the settlement gave the iwi the chance to move forward.
"It's never enough based on how long the land had been in Crown ownership. But it is an opportunity for us to step forward and to move forward for future generations," he said.
Mr Manuel said since the signing of the settlement the Crown had released $3 million of the funds. He said following settlement the iwi want to conduct a feasibility study on Stony Creek Station farmland to determine what it can be used for in the future.
"We also hope in the future to set up training services and scholarships for college students - that's the sort of vision we want for our people."
The 15 cultural sites which will be vested to Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa total about 3422.3ha and include Kowhairoa Peninsula property (about 282.9ha).
A cultural fund of $300,000 will also be given for the development and implementation of a historic reserve management plan for the property.
Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell said the settlement recognised the Crown's failure to properly investigate pre-Treaty land transactions within the Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa tribal area.
"The first reading of this Bill is validation of the hard work, tears, arguments and terse moments that the people of Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa have endured to have their Bill discussed in the House," Mr Flavell said.
The Deed of Settlement also includes a Crown apology for historical grievances and acknowledges Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa were left "virtually landless" and because of this the majority of their people now live outside the rohe (area).
Eleven geographic names will be also be assigned or altered on settlement.