History will be made in Dannevirke tomorrow when iwi leaders from Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tamaki Nui-a-Rua and the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson sign an Agreement in Principle document at the Dannevirke Town Hall tomorrow.
The Crown offer of $93 million and almost 20,000 hectares of land - including forestry sites at Ngaumu and the bed of Lake Wairarapa - has been accepted by a faction of Ngati Kahungunu in settlement of their historic Treaty of Waitangi claims.
The Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tamaki Nui-a-Rua rohe, or territory, comprises 1 million hectares spread throughout the wider Wairarapa and Tamaki Nui-a-Rua regions from north of Dannevirke to a point just beyond Cape Turnagain and down to Cape Palliser, also encompassing the entire area east of the Tararua, Ruahine and Rimutaka ranges.
Crown actions and omissions since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi had led to the loss of virtually all this tribal territory, the alienation of many Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tamaki Nui-a-Rua descendants from their lands, culture and language and wreaked "irreparable damage to the rich fabric of hapu and iwi life", according to Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tamaki Nui a Rua trustees who had negotiated the settlement.
Dannevirke's Hayden Hape, chairman of Ngati Kahungunu Tamaki Nui A Rua, told the Dannevirke News tomorrow will be a "huge day".
"This is good for our whole community and we'll invest in the Tararua and Wairarapa and come up with something which is sustainable and I'm proud of what we can achieve."
The Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tamaki Nui a Rua Trust won Government approval in late 2012 as a settlement entity that would represent people tracing a lineage to the two southern most Kahungunu districts - Wairarapa and Tamaki Nui a Rua. The trust, which is made up of 10 trustees representing nine hapu, were charged with negotiating a fair and enduring settlement and to manage any resources negotiated.