After three years dedicated to preparing for treaty settlement, Ngatiwai are finally on track after their mandate was given the thumbs-up from the Crown.
Sacred lands and forest blocks are just some things Ngatiwai Trust Board chairman Haydn Edmonds says will hopefully be returned to iwi upon settlement.
He said Ngatiwai had been working on preparing for settlement since the iwi submitted the Wai 244 claim to the Waitangi Tribunal in 1987 but for the past three years whanau have been focused on preparing a Deed of Mandate to submit to the Crown.
After first submitting the document in July 2014 and amending it following Crown recommendation, Ngatiwai were told last week the Crown had endorsed their mandate.
"We were elated, a lot of hard work has gone into this," he said.
A Deed of Mandate outlines the iwi's area of interest, different hapu and marae associated with the iwi and highlights how Ngatiwai would plan to settle.
Mr Edmonds hoped to have claims settled within two years.
The next step for the iwi will be establishing a Terms of Negotiation, forming a group comprised of kaumatua and kuia, hapu and marae representatives, historians and negotiators.