There is much optimism and hope amongst Maori communities that the pending treaty settlements will add value to culture and communities.
The combined estimated value of around $400m will be 99.9 per cent invested in the Kahungunu region, including Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa. Marae redevelopment and small business renaissance has triggered bubbling energy amongst our people.
After 20 years of the settlement of Ngai Tahu and Waikato claims of $170m and $140m respectively, they have both just tipped over the $1b mark.
The true original settlement quantum was valued at only 2 per cent of the real losses suffered by those iwi and the Ngati Kahungunu settlements are at the same ratio.
The Ngati Kahungunu fishery settlement of 2006 has grown from $34m to $100m in nine years.
While this is good news on the economic development front, the whanau and social development arenas are still lagging far behind, but with economic influence of iwi and other land claim settlements there is an alacrity of corporates and government agencies to work more collaboratively with iwi and hap to develop better models of investment, education, health and general social advancements.
Again there is great hope amongst Maori communities that things are looking up and that there's greater cohesion in our region.
However, the latest rants and raves in the news media about Maori repatriation of place names and protection of the environment from pakeha commentators demonstrates there's a lot of white anger which seems to border on hostility at times for Maori positive projects and proposals.
The hue and cry over the restoration of Ahuriri to the name Hawke's Bay Airport is an example. Also the iwi assertion of rights over water and other natural resources has been met with howls of derision by commentators who believe that only pakeha have exclusive rights to freshwater.
The thoughtful placement of a Kura Kaupapa in Havelock North has been met with shrill criticism by leaders and councillors in the Havelock North community. Arataki means an intrepid journey with strong leadership, but those traits haven't been shown here.
Recently Iron Maori cyclists gathering on a road in Havelock North were confronted by two police cars who had been called by neighbours worried that Maori were unlawfully gathering in their neighbourhood.
The repatriation of the Maori language, Maori art, Maori social structures and actions alongside Maori economic investment will boost the regional economy and the regional texture to levels never seen before.
The hand brake to this happening is white anger.
White anger is holding this region back against a backdrop of Maori hope and ambition for everyone.
It is fortunate that the huge bulk of Hawke's Bay community are fair-minded and willing to support and develop across all creeds and colours and we are willing to work closely too.