The Waitangi Tribunal has recommended a settlement package for Far North iwi Ngati Kahu totalling $42.518 million.
The recommended settlement package, which includes several culturally significant areas in Ngati Kahu territory, was far lower than the original iwi redress application for the return of $260 million in land and other assets, the Waitangi Tribunal said in it report, released today.
However, recommending a settlement package matching that sought by Ngati Kahu would have been well in excess of other settlements in New Zealand, the report said.
The tribunal also declined to use its binding powers for the iwi's settlement package, citing possible implications for existing and impending Treaty settlement negotiations with other Far North Iwi.
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Five years ago, five Far North iwi, including Ngati Kahu, entered into collective negotiations with the Crown.
Three years later, Ngati Kahu left the negotiations to seek their own settlement, which resulted in the iwi's application to the tribunal.
Properties earmarked for Ngati Kahu as part of the collective negotiations were included in its application.
However, warranting use of binding powers in Ngati Kahu's application would have upset the balance of negotiations between the other Northland iwi, the tribunal warned.
It found that redress for the wrongful dispossession of 70 per cent of Ngati Kahu lands by 1865 was long overdue and recommended the Crown seek to re-engage with Ngati Kahu and make an offer based on the range of redress proposed in the report.