Huge sacrifices from both sides in elegant win-win solution

By Yvonne Tahana

The Urewera National Park will be given its own legal identity under a new settlement between Tuhoe and the Crown. File photo / Greg Bowker
The Urewera National Park will be given its own legal identity under a new settlement between Tuhoe and the Crown. File photo / Greg Bowker

Tuhoe and the Crown have made huge compromises to forge this deal.

In 2010 lame jokes about iwi cannibalism marked a low point in negotiations, which came unstuck on the issue of ownership of Te Urewera National Park.

Both groups giving up ownership makes this deal a zero-sum game in Treaty negotiations. Both win. The Government could never have sold ownership to the wider electorate.

No remaining iwi except for Ngapuhi will approach the $170 million mark - and the Government gets closer to its 2014 settlement goal.

Tuhoe wins significant decision-making power over its future - an intended aim in its desire for autonomy.

To borrow the Prime Minister's phrase, it does look like an elegant solution.

Tuhoe's Tamati Kruger has emerged as one of the country's unlikeliest diplomats.

To look at him, in his trackpants, he is not that impressive. Until he opens his mouth.

Wellington Treaty people see him as principled. He has a formidable arsenal of wit, smarts, is an entertaining bush philosopher and is deeply rooted in Tuhoe culture - which is why he was called on as a witness for Tame Iti during Operation 8.

He's also an extremely skilled communicator.

But if he can steer the Crown offer through iwi ratification, it is his pragmatism which should be admired.

John Key gave the impression this week he was talking to kohanga kids when he gave a rundown to media about the things people couldn't own - wind, water, sunlight, and sea.

Soon he might be able to add Te Urewera to that list as well.

- NZ Herald

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