The Waitangi Tribunal has released its decision to hold a district inquiry into the historical grievances of Whakatōhea.
A three-year wait has ended for claimants who lodged their claims in the North-Eastern Bay of Plenty Inquiry in 2016.
The Waitangi Tribunal held consultation meetings in Ōpōtiki in 2015 by Judge Carrie Wainwright which resulted in a tribunal-led mediation in November 2016.
Despite ongoing conflict in Whakatōhea, MPs Chris Finlayson and Te Ururoa Flavell recognised the mandate of the Whakatohea pre-settlement trust on December 14, 2016, a month after mediation ended.
The claimants filed for an urgent inquiry into the mandate recognised by the Crown in January 2017 which was subsequently granted in July 2017 with hearings being held in November over two weeks.
The Waitangi Tribunal released its 120-page report in April 2018 which found that the Crown's recognition of the pre-settlement trust's mandate was not fair, reasonable nor made in good faith and that the Crown prioritised its political objective of concluding settlements by mid-2020 over a fair process for Whakatōhea.
One of the recommendations of the report was to hold a Whakatōhea-wide vote to "test the pulse" of hapū and the iwi and whether they wish to see all negotiations halted so that a tribunal inquiry could proceed, or whether they preferred direct negotiations.
100 per cent of all hapu in Whakatōhea voted for a district inquiry according to the voting results released in November 2018.