Iwi opposed to the signing of a Treaty settlement for an iwi collective stretching from north of Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula were locked out of Parliament today as the signing ceremony went ahead inside.
Inside Parliament's Grand Hall, the Government signed the Pare Hauraki collective redress deed, worth more than $250 million, with the Hauraki Collective of 12 iwi.
Outside, a group of Tauranga Moana iwi mourned what they say they will lose as a result.
They wailed and shouted as Hauraki iwi signatories arrived at Parliament to attend the signing ceremony.
For months the iwi, led by Ngāi Te Rangi, have protested the settlement, which they say will give Hauraki iwi mana whenua status in Tauranga.
In a statement, Pare Hauraki said the settlement deed was the largest collective Treaty settlement to date.
It included a cash redress package of $143 million, the return of two ancestral maunga – Moehau on the Coromandel Peninsula and Te Aroha - 25,000ha of commercial forests and 41 commercial properties.
Co-governance and co-management of rivers and catchments in areas including Tauranga Moana will be arranged through a tikanga process.
In a $53 million deal, five iwi accepted the offer of Pouarua Farm, the largest single dairy platform in the Hauraki region.
Collective chairman Paul Majurey said the deed enabled legislation to be introduced to Parliament.
In May, Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little put off the signing after Tauranga Māori marched on Parliament to demand the Crown make way for a tikanga Māori process to settle disputes between Tauranga Moana and Hauraki iwi.
But last week, Little said he had allowed a fair amount of time for the parties to provide him with more information and he was ready to sign.
"Advancing these settlements is a vital step in coming to terms with our history and making reparation for past injustices. It's time to move ahead and allow Pare Hauraki ... to settle their historical claims," he said.
Today's protest was one of a series led by Ngāi Te Rangi against the settlement plan, including barricading Tauranga Harbour with a flotilla of boats and blockading a highway.
Kaumātua Enoka Rolleston, who was emotional as he watched other Māori go inside, said they were at Parliament to witness their mokopuna's future being signed away.
"We're not going to give in. It's my children, my mokopuna's future."
Labour MP Tamati Coffey, who has connections to the iwi, was outside with them today.
"It's really sad," he said.
"I promised that I would walk alongside Tauranga Moana. I will continue to; I did that today. I intend to be, if they'll accept me, part of that tikanga process to happen after this if that's what the iwi want, to try to resolve some of these outstanding issues."
He wouldn't comment on whether the iwi should have been locked out.