Hundreds of Ngati Kahungunu descendants met at the Masterton Town Hall on Saturday over the settlement of Treaty of Waitangi claims in the Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tamaki Nui a Rua region.

Registered Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa and Tamaki Nui a Rua iwi members number in the thousands, and range in age from children to pensioners, with descendants living throughout New Zealand and internationally. Saturday's hui in Masterton was for iwi members to consider the ratification of an agreement in principle for a Kahungunu settlement negotiated for the Wairarapa and Tararua districts.

The results of the vote were yet to be announced but ratification was believed to have been passed by a considerable margin. The land over which Ngati Kahungunu exercises mana and guardianship is vast, extending from Whakapunake, north of Wairoa, all the way down the east coast to the furthermost point of the North Island at Cape Palliser. The Kahungunu lands are divided into six districts, or taiwhenua, and the Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tamaki Nui a Rua settlement trust represents people who trace a lineage to the two southern most Kahungunu districts -- Wairarapa and Tamaki Nui a Rua.

The trust, which is made up of 10 trustees representing nine hapu, has been mandated by the Government to complete two tasks. The duties of the trust are to negotiate a fair and enduring settlement, and to found a governance entity approved by the Crown to receive and manage any resources negotiated under the settlement.