At Ihumātao last night there was relief and exhaustion among those on the front line of the fight.
Birdsong and cicadas filled the air in a place that 17 months ago was brimming with noise, people, passion and tension as supporters flooded to the land when an eviction notice was served to those occupying it.
A breakthrough deal to buy the land follows years of protest involving hīkoi, petitions, court action, a trip to the United Nations, and a lengthy land-occupation.
• Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson denies Ihumātao will spark more deals for private land
• Ihumātao deal done: Government's $30 million deal to buy the land
• The Government paid private consultants up to $325 an hour to provide Ihumātao advice
• Why Ihumātao is being occupied by 'protectors'
The Government yesterday agreed to buy the land from Fletcher Building for just under $30 million - with a commitment for housing to be built on the site.
It's the first step in breaking a long-running deadlock.
Last night at Ihumātao, frequent visitor Fala Haulangi said she recalled the height of the land occupation in 2019, when there were nearly 100 tents and thousands of protesters on site.
"This place was like, real loud. The community were here, everywhere, taking photos and listening to the history. Church ministers were here, community leaders with the fire going, in the rain."
As the sun set on the milestone day for the kaupapa last night, Haulangi and her children were there to congratulate Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) - the group at the centre of the protest.
"It's well done for standing up, not giving up.
"It took them six years - not just them, but the communities who came behind them and supported them - finally the Government has done the right thing."
SOUL leader Pania Newton said she had a few similar visitors throughout the afternoon.
She described herself as proud and grateful, but said celebrations would need to wait until after a hard-earned sleep.
"We'll take this time to rest and recharge and really process the past six years and gear up for the next phase," Newton said.
That would involve lots of hui, she said.
"We'll enter into a tikanga process led by the kīngitanga to decide who is mana whenua."
Yesterday's resolution also brought a close to a memorable chapter in Roger Heta's life.
He has been living at the whenua since the first major day of occupation more than 500 days ago, and now considers it home.
"It's been an amazing experience getting to be out in the elements every day, experiencing life, but of course, tautoko-ing the kaupapa which is here, which is the Makaurau marae, the whānau, SOUL, Pania... connecting to the mahi," Heta said.
SOUL said the deal between the Government and Fletchers affirmed international commitments to indigenous rights and the place of tangata whenua in Aotearoa.