All but one of the 19 people injured in a bus crash in Manawatū yesterday have been discharged from hospital.
They were among iwi members - many from Ngāi Te Rangi in Tauranga Moana - who travelled to Wellington yesterday to protest the Pare Hauraki Treaty settlement deed signing at Parliament.
On their way home, their bus, carrying 19 people, crashed off the road into a ditch on State Highway 1 near Sanson at 2.47pm.
Police said six people were taken to Palmerston North Hospital with moderate injuries and 13 went to Whanganui Hospital with minor injuries.
A MidCentral District Health Board spokesman said the one remaining patient was a woman and she was in a stable condition this morning.
Ngāi Te Rangi Iwi Trust chief executive Paora Stanley said this morning that whānau were with her and he hoped she would be discharged today or tomorrow.
Stanley said the whānau spent the night in motels in Whanganui and Palmerston North.
A "service of thanks" was planned at Rātana Pā this morning, he said, ahead of a meeting to decide how to ferry the "precious cargo" back to Tauranga and Hauraki today, leaving from Rātana Pā.
"The Ratana church has been very helpful, and shown great care and concern for our people. We are truly grateful."
Stanley said driving was the most reasonable transport option and a bus was on standby but, given the trauma of yesterday's crash, he wanted to speak to the injured to see how they felt before deciding.
He refuted reports that the bus had failed a Certificate of Fitness as recently as 2013 and was the same brand as one involved in a fatal crash over the weekend.
"The bus had a thorough examination and passed its COF [Certificate of Fitness] within the past three weeks.
"The model is known to be a very reliable model. The drivers are experienced drivers.
The bus was owned by Ngāi Te Rangi, he said, and had regularly taken cross-country journeys.
"In any incident like this, the police carry out a thorough investigation. Let's avoid all speculation and wait for the result of the standard police investigation."
Stanley commended the police for their handling of the aftermath of the crash, saying they were "absolutely outstanding".
The police Commercial Vehicle Safety Team was investigating the cause of the crash.