History set to be made for trio of Taranaki iwi as treaty bills poised for final readings
Hundreds of people from Taranaki will be in Wellington to watch history being made on Wednesday.
The third and final reading of Treaty of Waitangi settlement bills for Taranaki, Te Atiawa and Ngaruahine iwi groups will take place in Parliament.
The historic day also marks the beginning of a new chapter for each iwi. After leaving behind the years of hurt and hard work to negotiate a settlement deal with the Crown, each group was moving towards a renewed sense of tino rangatiratanga or self determination.
Taranaki Iwi Trust chairman Tokatumoana Walden said the final step in the legislative process, which will see the bill made law, completed decades of work many people had put into making the settlement a reality.
* Historic settlement for Te Atiawa signed
* Final reading of three Taranaki iwi settlements cancelled after allegation NZ First 'stonewalled' them
* Ngaruahine $67.5m Treaty settlement signed
* Taranaki treaty settlement bills back on track to pass into law
* Taranaki Iwi Trust signs up for a prosperous future
While he acknowledged treaty settlements were "political deals" Walden said the interests of the iwi had always been paramount.
He said the commercial and cultural opportunities which have already presented themselves to the iwi had helped focus the group towards its future, rather than looking back on its past.
"It is about self determination," he said.
"We're starting to establish our footprint back on the Taranaki landscape."
"That's part of the healing."
About 400 people from the three iwi will travel to Wellington to be part of the proceedings. New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young will also be there and he is set to deliver a speech in favour of the bill.
He said iwi were already major economic players in the region and the legislation would help cement their position.
"I think this is something our whole region should celebrate," he said.
Young said it was important to remember the "generosity" iwi had shown in accepting the settlement deals, which fell well short of the actual losses each had suffered at the hands of the government.
"That ought not to be lost on people," he said.
Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa chairwoman Liana Poutu said while the third reading had been delayed, it was an exciting time for the iwi.
"It will be a pretty big occasion for us," she said.
The final readings were scheduled to take place in September, but were postponed after New Zealand First raised a technical issue with the process at the last minute.
Poutu said the iwi's commercial arm had been set up and other work had been done behind the scenes in the last 12 months so the legislation was the last piece of the puzzle.
"It really does signify that we can just get on with things," she said.
"We're ready to go."
Signed in August 2014
$87 million in cash
Deferred option to buy 51 land banked properties
Right of first refusal over specified Crown properties
Cultural fund set up
Joint vesting of Ngā Motu Islands (Sugar Loaf) with Taranaki iwi
Signed in August 2014
$67.5 million in cash
Deferred option to buy 12 sites and two South Taranaki District Council properties
Return of four culturally significant sites
$600,000 cultural fund
Signed in September 2015
$70 million in cash
Return of 29 sites of cultural significance
Deferred option for two years to buy 29 commercial properties
Right of first refusal over Crown-owned land in its area
Joint vesting of Ngā Motu Islands (Sugar Loaf) along with Te Atiawa