25 Mar 2013

Deed initialling gives Tuhoe a say in Te Urewera Park soon

8:34 pm on 25 March 2013

The initialling of a Deed of Settlement means Tuhoe will soon have a say in how Te Urewera National Park is maintained.

The settlement was agreed to on Friday and is to be taken back to the people for ratification.

The package includes a provision in which legislation will be created in which Te Urewera National Park will be vested into a new legal entity.

It will be run by a Governance Board, which will have an equal number of Tuhoe and Crown representatives.

Mahaki Akuhata, a trustee for the tribe's mandated negotiation group, Te Kotahi a Tuhoe, is pleased with progress on the settlement.

He says it also highlights his tribe's connection to the ngahere or forest.

Mr Akuhata says he's been critical of the way the Department of Conservation has cared for Te Urewera in the past.

However, because of provisions of the Deed, he says the onus about how to care for the forest will be on Tuhoe as well.