With two Taranaki-based Treaty settlements set to be finalised in the next fortnight, one man in particular will be there to witness history twice over.
Not only has Peter Moeahu worked as a negotiator for Te Atiawa during its talks with the Crown, but he is also a Nga Hapu o Ngaruahine Inc trustee and current chairman of Te Korowai o Ngaruahine Trust, which is the iwi's post-settlement governance entity.
On August 1, Ngaruahine is set to sign its deed of settlement, worth $67.5 million, with the Crown while Te Atiawa should finalise its $87m deal on August 9.
Despite initial challenges, Moeahu said concerns about a possible conflict of interest regarding his involvement in both iwi deals had since faded.
"I've never had a problem with conflicts of interest, as each settlement is unique in it's own right," he said.
He said that within Maoridom, challenge and debate were commonplace, and it was not something he shied away from.
"That's what makes us strong."
He said it was that "battler" mentality which helped him in his negotiating role with the Crown, a job he took on out of a sense of responsibility he shouldered for his whanau and iwi.
"It's about duty and service."
He was also quick to laugh off any suggestion that he had benefited financially from his involvement. "No one is getting filthy rich out of the process."
Moeahu said his association with both settlement deals had assisted with the "tri-iwi" position Te Atiawa, Ngaruahine and Taranaki had taken in recent years.
Moeahu said that although he was excited about the upcoming formalities, both iwi were looking ahead to each group's future.
He said Ngaruahine had already started a recruitment drive and Te Atiawa was likely to follow suit shortly. He sees a role for himself post-settlement. "I will be here for as long as I am elected and for as long as I feel I have something to contribute."
- Taranaki Daily News
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