Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi Trust (Te Mana) is a step closer to settling historical claims for breaches of Te Tiriti o Waitangi by the Crown.
Today the trust announced it had received Crown approval for the results of a vote by iwi members on the Ngāti Rangitihi Deed of Settlement.
In a letter received from Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little and
Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta, the Crown acknowledged that the results showed sufficient support from the Ngāti Rangitihi voting population, and that the ratification process was robust and allowed for full participation of members.
Chairman Leith Comer said the ministers' approval was another significant milestone for the iwi.
"We were always confident we had fulfilled the Crown's criteria, but it's good to now get full and final confirmation of this so that we can move forward with signing the Deed of Settlement," he said.
The Deed of Settlement voting was a four-week process, with results received on August 26 showing 91.79 per cent of valid votes cast were in favour of the settlement package that had been negotiated.
Comer said the iwi intended to sign the Deed of Settlement with the Crown before the close of the year.
"This has been a long time coming for Ngāti Rangitihi, and we look forward to the formal ceremony at Rangitihi Marae later this year."
Once the settlement is signed, and then enacted through Parliament, Te Mana, as the approved post-settlement governance entity, will receive the settlement redress.
Within one year of the Deed of Settlement being signed, or by 2022 (whichever happens sooner), new trustees will be elected to develop the future strategic plan of the trust and establish those social, cultural and economic developments that will benefit the iwi.
Comer said reaching an approved Deed of Settlement signified a promising future for the iwi, especially the rangatahi.
"We look forward to continuing to have our people involved in the haerenga (journey) as we move into this next phase and realise the aspirations of our people – culturally, spiritually, socially, and economically.
"On behalf of the trust, I extend my gratitude to all those who enabled us to reach this point – our tūpuna, Ngāti Rangitihi claimants, our members, all those who voted, and our dedicated team of trustees, negotiators and Te Mana staff."