Pūkaha Forest now belongs to the people of New Zealand after it was gifted by Rangitāne iwi over the weekend.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended the gifting ceremony at Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre, near Mt Bruce, on Saturday where 942 hectares of native forest - home to native birds and important conservation work - was gifted to the nation.
The forest was returned to Rangitāne o Tamaki Nui a Rua and Rangitāne o Wairarapa as part of a joint Treaty settlement which was finalised in 2017.
Rangitāne Tū Mai Rā Trust former chairman Jason Kerehi described it as a "taonga to Rangitāne" and "cornerstone of [their] identity".
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Ardern described the gifting of the forest to New Zealand as "incredibly generous".
A korowai given to her during the ceremony will now hang in Parliament to mark the day - exactly 10 years to the day after a rare white kiwi, Manukura, hatched at the centre.