Influential Taranaki iwi Te Atiawa has signed an agreement with the Crown about the future of the New Plymouth airport.
The Memorandum of Understanding calls upon the parties to act in good faith in advancing Te Atiawa's aspirations should the Crown seek to sell its stake.
The airport, which is partly owned by the Crown and partly owned by the New Plymouth District Council, was a former Puketapu Pa site, Te Atiawa Treaty negotiator Peter Moeahu said.
"The airport is important because it provides direct entry into Te Atiawa territory," he said.
Te Atiawa Iwi Authority chairwoman Wikitoria Keenan said she was excited by the prospect of Te Atiawa building closer ties with the Crown and joint venture partner the NPDC.
"This is the future face of our district, with iwi, council and Crown working collaboratively to advance our region," she said.
Ministry of Transport chief executive Martin Mathews said the agreement was about building relationships.
The number of people using the region's airport continues to climb higher.
Last year was a record one for passengers at the airport, as the number of people flying in and out rose seven per cent, increasing from 310,943 in 2012 to 332,178 passengers in 2013.
The NPDC is designing a multimillion-dollar extension of the terminal, with construction planned for 2015.
The project is intended to have no rates input and to be covered by user charges.
- Taranaki Daily News
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