Tamati Kruger reckons he has bought the recipe for mana motuhake or self-determination and it is wrapped up in the Deed of Settlement he will sign with the Crown on behalf of Ngai Tuhoe today.
The $170 million settlement is groundbreaking in two ways. First, it takes the 212,672ha Te Urewera National Park out of the national network and creates a new legal identity which will specify that neither the Crown nor Tuhoe owns it. Ownership had formerly been a bottom line for the tribe.
It also sets up a long-term plan for Tuhoe to deliver their own social services after 40 years.
Mr Kruger says he can live with the compromises on the park and self-determination because the settlement is a starting point for those things to happen over time.
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"The compromise is where you start from. Tuhoe say, 'Go in there and get mana motuhake,' and you get two litres of it. And you have to say, 'Ah, not quite how it happens.' I went in and bought the recipe.
"I've come to believe that the idea of mana motuhake and mana whenua-dash-ownership are evolutionary ideas. It means you have to grow them over a period of time.
"Tuhoe needs to be doing a lot of stuff by itself for itself and testing their own resolve. We really need to expose ourselves very quickly to taking responsibility for our stuff."
Scotland was considering its constitutional relationship in the United Kingdom, he said, and there was no reason why, over time, Tuhoe couldn't have those conversations too.