2 Jul 2011

Agreement set to help repair troubled relationship

1:34 pm on 2 July 2011

The Government signed an agreement with Ngai Tuhoe on Saturday to clear the way for negotiation of a Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

The signing marks a landmark in Ngai Tuhoe's relations with the government.

For almost a century the relationship has been fraught with difficulty, the most recent being police raids in the area in 2007 and confusion in 2010 when the tribe believed, mistakenly as it turned out, that the Government was ready to return Urewera National Park to it.

Tuhoe leader Tamati Kruger says the agreement acknowledges the mana of both parties and outlines a way forward for the Treaty settlement process.

He says it also acknowledges the tribe's grievances and expresses a commitment to redress Ngai Tuhoe's historic complaints.

Around 500 people, including the Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson, are attending the signing at Mataatua Marae, about 100 kms southeast of Rotorua.