A Treaty settlement bill that passed its first reading in Parliament yesterday will hand 15 volcanic cones and four small islands in Auckland, including Rangitoto, back to local Maori.
The iwi of the Tamaki collective will then gift them back to the Crown for the benefit of all New Zealanders.
The islands covered by the Nga Mana Whenua o Tamaki Collective Settlement Bill are Rangitoto, Motutapu, Motuihe and the bird sanctuary Tiritiri Matangi.
Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said the bill would now go to the Maori affairs committee, which would hear submissions and consider them before returning the legislation to the House for its second reading.
"Our accelerated progress resolving historical Treaty of Waitangi claims means that we have more Treaty legislation before the House each year," he said.
The Government has had to extend sitting time in Parliament to allow for the Treaty legislation to be progressed.
A spokesman for the minister said 14 of the 15 volcanic cones that would be transferred to the Tamaki collective's ownership would be collectively managed with the Auckland Council, whose representatives would make up half of a governance board.
Mangere Mountain would not be governed by the iwi group and North Head would continue to be run by the Department of Conservation.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown said the iwi had worked together in an unprecedented way with the Auckland Council and the Crown to secure the volcanic cones and small islands.
"Our maunga and motu are deeply important to all Aucklanders, mana whenua and others and this secures the future of our iconic landscape and our historical, cultural and spiritual heritage sites, along with public access and use rights," he said.
Mr Finlayson said the broad cross-party support for the legislation brought the Ngati Rangiwewehi, Ngati Rangiteaorere, Tapuika, Maungaharuru-Tangitu Hapu and Tamaki Makaurau people closer to enjoying the benefits of settlement.
"It demonstrates the importance of resolving all historical Treaty claims in a fair, just and timely way."
Copies of the deeds of settlement: www.ots.govt.nz
- additional reporting Brendan Manning