Picton-based iwi Te Atiawa Manawhenua Ki Te Tau Ihu will look for shared business interests with other iwi in the South Island to get the greatest benefits from its $20 million Crown settlement package.
Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson signed a deed of settlement on behalf of the Crown with Te Atiawa Manawhenua ki Te Tau Ihu Trust chairwoman Glenice Paine, Kaikoura MP Colin King and iwi members at Waikawa Marae on Friday afternoon.
The settlement consisted of a financial package of $11.76 million and $6m of land in the top of the south from Queen Charlotte Sound to Golden Bay. It included properties such as the Picton police station and the Department of Conservation building in Motueka.
The package also includes cultural redress such as changing the name of Arapawa Island to Arapaoa Island and Queen Charlotte Sound to Queen Charlotte Sound/Totaranui.
Nelson-based iwi Ngati Koata also signed a settlement deal with the Crown on Friday, worth $11.7m.
Mrs Paine said it was too soon to discuss any particular investments, but Te Atiawa was creating strong relationships with other South Island iwi such as Ngai Tahu and would look for areas of common interest.
"We have been building bridges with iwi from te tau ihu [the top of the south] and Ngai Tahu.
"We hope there will be come positive outcomes but I think we've all been going in that direction. It's about moving forward together and it's about sharing lessons that each of us have learned so we don't keep making the same mistake."
It was likely the iwi board would meet in the new year to work out how best to involve the wider iwi in the decision-making process.
It would then hold a hui for iwi members to discuss how they wanted to use the settlement and meet with other South Island iwi to find mutual opportunities.
The settlement was in response to the iwi's Wai 607 claim, made to the Waitangi Tribunal in 1996.
Each Treaty of Waitangi settlement has to be passed through an act of Parliament and it could take a year for Te Atiawa to receive the settlement.
Members ratified the Crown's offer earlier this month, with 28 per cent of eligible voters taking part and 94 per cent voting in favour.
Ngai Tahu kaumatua Sir Tipene O'Regan was part of a delegation which included Ngai Tahu kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon that came from Christchurch to support Ngati Koata and Te Atiawa at the signings on Friday.
The former Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation chairman declined to talk about co-operative projects.
"There's some obvious areas of common interest in our history and traditions that will bring opportunities, but the important thing is the strong relationship we have as tangata whenua of the same island.
"These deeds have been quite a long time coming and Ngai Tahu is supportive and wanting to be helpful."
Ngai Tahu reached a settlement with the Crown in 1998, worth $170 million. Since then the iwi's total equity has grown to $658m.
Mr Finlayson said the Crown's settlement package should allow the iwi to develop new relationships with other iwi.
"Today we have signed settlements with two top of the South Island iwi. It shows that Crown and iwi, working together, can resolve historical grievances and build an economic platform that benefits iwi and the wider community."
- The Marlborough Express