A leader of a Ngāpuhi hapū long seen to block progress on the collective iwi's Treaty settlement process has delivered a stark message for his people to step up.
The comments, from Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Hine chairman Waihoroi Shortland, were in response to this week's announcement of a $150 million investment fund in a step towards Ngāpuhi finally reaching a settlement for Crown breaches of Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty.
"I have been moved by the answers you have brought to us since last year," said Shortland, speaking to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Government ministers at Te Whare Rūnanga on the Waitangi Treaty grounds.
"This is the first time I have been on Waitangi, and been awakened, and I thank you for that."
The Ngāpuhi Investment Fund Limited will be a new Crown company which will grow a portfolio of assets which can be offered to the Far North iwi in negotiations.
As well ngā hapū o Ngāpuhi will be able to apply for grants for social development and governance while the Crown and iwi work towards eventually reaching a settlement.
Ngāpuhi, the country's largest iwi with more than 125,000 members, has been engaged in negotiations over Crown breaches of the Treaty in various manners for over two decades.
In recent years negotiations have been stymied with Governments refusing to negotiate with the notoriously-divided iwi at hapū level, leading to disputes - including by Ngāti Hine - over who held the negotiating mandate.
After talks fell over halfway into Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little's first term, he adopted a new approach.
He gained wide respect at Waitangi last year speaking entirely in te reo Māori, where he also indicated the Crown was willing to engage at hapū level on certain issues, while still favouring a collective economic settlement.
He once again made it his priority this term to get a settlement across the line, with the investment fund as a starting point and show of good faith.
Shortland said the fund marked economic sovereignty returning to the iwi.
It had provided the iwi a pathway forward, and now the Government should leave them to "stitch ourselves together".
It would not be straightforward he warned, stating with tongue-in-cheek he still needed to get his hapū Ngāti Hine onboard, referring to their opposition to progress in the past.
"But we have a pathway forward. Leave Ngāpuhi to us. Don't try to write the remedy - challenge us to do that, and that is what you have done.
"I think we will all get onboard that waka very quickly. Ngāpuhi is ready, and you helped us get ready."
As he neared the end of his whaikōrero (speech), Shortland turned away from the politicians and back to his iwi, and urging them to put aside their differences and find a way forward.
"When is enough, enough?" he asked.
Shortland told the Herald it was still the preference of Ngāti Hine to have separate commercial settlements.
But now the Crown had guaranteed a starting point for a settlement, the hapū could work among themselves how it would be divided, he said.
Little said the fund would give the Crown more options to put on the table and ensure ngā hapū o Ngāpuhi didn't miss investment opportunities while they work through negotiations.
"The scale of the fund will allow it to build a base of assets throughout the rohe and beyond that may not otherwise be available for the Crown to offer, and provides a boost in investment for Te Tai Tokerau," Little said.
It also sent a "clear signal of our intention" to endeavour to meet the redress
The fund can invest in a wide variety of New Zealand assets - including land-based businesses and standard financial assets to grow the fund.
The board will set the fund's kaupapa and investment strategy then the fund will make investment decisions itself and will operate at "Tupu Tonu" (which roughly translates to "prosperity and perpetuity").
"The fund sends a clear signal of our intention to seek to meet the aspirations of ngā hapū o Ngāpuhi for redress for their people and their rohe when they are ready," said Little.