The passing of Ngāti Rangi's claims settlement bill - Rukutia Te Mana - was a momentous occasion for the iwi, lead negotiator Che Wilson says.
"He rā whakahirahira tēnei mō mātou o Ngāti Rangi nui tonu, he tūranga hoki mō te iwi i Aotearoa nei."
The third and final reading of the bill happened in Parliament on July 25, with about 300 uri (people of the tribe) present to see it.
Wilson remembered the sacrifices his people had made across 178 years of the settlement journey.
"While they are not here to witness the fruits of their own labour, I hope they are proud," he said.
He warned the passing of the legislation was not the final step in the tribe's journey, and said there was a lot more work to be done.
It would be done with the Crown, private and community sectors, who would see Ngāti Rangi as a partner of choice.
"Where Ngāti Rangi goes, so go our partners."
Ngāti Rangi's post-settlement governance entity is Te Tōtarahoe o Paerangi. Its chairwoman Soraya Peke-Mason said the settlement would never compensate for the deliberate degradation of Ngāti Rangi's whakapapa and cultural identity.
"But it will allow us to focus on the future and move forward by utilising the settlement package to develop and restore our Ngāti Rangitanga."
The settlement, Rukutia Te Mana, is framed around six poupou (pillars). It includes Crown acknowledgement of many breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi, an agreed historical account and an apology as well as compensation, the return of important sites and new partnership arrangements.
Crown will honour 'new treaty' with Ngati Rangi - Little
Ngāti Rangi's treaty settlement is similar to a new treaty with the Crown, Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little told Parliament on July 25.
"Today symbolises a new beginning for Ngāti Rangi and the Crown. Where we go, we will go together like that of a waka hourua; two hulls working as one," he said.
He gave the first speech at the third reading of the Ruapehu iwi's Ngāti Rangi Claims Settlement Bill. About 300 people from the district had arrived in buses and cars to be welcomed into the chamber on July 25.
There were many Whanganui faces among those gathered. They heard 12 speeches, saw the bill passed, sang a waiata and celebrated in Parliament's Grand Hall afterward.
Speakers included Whanganui MP Harete Hipango, National list MP Joanne Hayes, Te Tai Hauāuru MP Adrian Rurawhe and Rangitīkei MP Ian McKelvie.
The tribe's deed of settlement was signed at Raketapauma Marae, near Waiouru, in March last year, and 99.5 per cent of those registered approved it. The settlement includes $17 million in financial and commercial compensation and gives Ngāti Rangi the option to buy Karioi Forest.
The iwi is part of Te Waiū-o-Te-Ika, a joint management committee for the Whangaehu River. In the settlement important reserves, including the beds of the Rotokura lakes, were returned to it. It also received Defence Force land adjoining the Desert Rd, and symbolically give it back to the force.
Its interest in Tongariro National Park has yet to be decided, Little said. The park was created in 1907 without consultation with Ngāti Rangi, but the tribe will play a central role in the negotiations to come.
When its tupuna signed the treaty in 1840 they expected a partnership with the Crown, Little said. They stood true to that, even fighting alongside the Crown. But the Crown treated them with indifference, and he apologised at the settlement signing.
Ngāti Rangi is the first iwi in the large Whanganui Inquiry Area to move towards a treaty settlement, and has worked tirelessly.
Little said he has great faith in Te Tōtarahoe o Paerangi, its post settlement governance entity, to act with foresight and integrity into the future.