An apology from the Crown and a historic statement of forgiveness were exchanged yesterday after Parliament passed legislation enacting a Waitangi Treaty settlement covering the wider Wellington region.

Prime Minister John Key read the Crown apology and said the statement of forgiveness, the first to be delivered formally by iwi to the Crown, marked a new phase in relationships.

The apology says the Crown is "deeply sorry it has not always lived up to its [Treaty] obligations and its principles" in its dealings with Taranaki Whanui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika.

The statement of forgiveness was delivered by former Governor-General Sir Paul Reeves, a trustee and chairman of the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust.

The settlement provides commercial and cultural redress, a $25 million financial package and the vesting of various culturally significant sites around the Port Nicholson area.

Three islands in Wellington Harbour are part of the deal.

- NZPA