Te Mana o Ngati Rangitihi Trust (Te Mana) has announced that the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and the Minister for Maori Development have recognised its mandate.

The iwi will now begin the process of direct negotiations with the Crown relating to the comprehensive settlement of all its historical Treaty of Waitangi grievances.

Trust chairman Leith Comer said this was a significant milestone for the iwi.

"Te Mana has worked hard to achieve a clear mandate from Ngati Rangitihi, and now with both the Ministers' recognition we can move forward.

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"The next few months will be an important phase as we prepare for negotiations with the Crown," Mr Comer said.

"We will use this new phase as an opportunity to ensure that the organisation is working in the best way to support our negotiations," he said.

Hapai-O (chief executive), Anthony Olsen, will resign from his current role and move into a position solely focused on advancing Te Mana's comprehensive claim. Mr Olsen has a lengthy background in treaty negotiations, and will provide support to Te Mana's negotiators, in particular offering essential research support.

The day-to-day running of Te Mana will be undertaken by internal staff members and overseen by the board.

"Achieving a successful settlement with the Crown is crucial for the development of Ngati Rangitihi and we're optimistic how things are progressing.

"It is important that we now unite as an iwi and move forward together," Mr Comer said.

Te Mana will outline its intentions and next steps at a hui-a-iwi to be called within a month.

Interested iwi members will be encouraged to attend and become involved in the process.

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