A range of reserves, historic places, cultural sites and scenic spots around the Taupo district will be transferred to Ngati Tuwharetoa when a settlement between the iwi and the Crown goes ahead.

Those include sites at Huka Falls, the Taupo Landing Reserve in Ferry Rd, the Tongariro National Trout Centre, Craters of the Moon, Tokaanu Thermal Recreation Reserve and the Taupo Courthouse Historic Reserve.

The settlement includes free and full public access to all but part of one site at Five Mile Bay Recreation Reserve, and existing third party interests will be maintained.

The agreement in principle also proposes renaming some of the features in the Ngati Tuwharetoa rohe, subject to agreement of both parties and the New Zealand Geographic Board.

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That would include renaming Mission Bay to Otaiatoa, Bulli Point to Te Poporo, and Cherry Island to Motutahae.

The process of settling Ngati Tuwharetoa's historical Treaty of Waitangi claims moved a step forward recently when the Crown signed an agreement in principle with the iwi.

"The agreement in principle marks the start of the next phase of negotiations with Ngati Tuwharetoa and represents an important milestone. This agreement provides both the Crown and Ngati Tuwharetoa with a basis from which to develop a detailed deed of settlement," Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson said.

The agreement in principle outlines a broad settlement package including provisional Crown acknowledgments of Treaty of Waitangi breaches and cultural, financial and commercial redress.

"These sites are all of immense cultural and historical value to Ngati Tuwharetoa and high recreational and community value to the Taupo region and New Zealand as a whole," Mr Finlayson said. "This [agreement] balances the interests of the public, the Crown and Ngati Tuwharetoa.

"The Crown is committed to resolving all historical Treaty grievances, and an agreement in principle is a significant step."

Ngati Tuwharetoa claims regarding Tongariro National Park are yet to be resolved.

A copy of the agreement can be found at: www.ots.govt.nz

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