22 Aug 2008

Waikato River deal to be signed

9:58 am on 22 August 2008

The claim by Waikato-Tainui over the Waikato river will be finally settled on Friday with the signing of an agreement with the Crown.

It will take place at the Turangawaewae Marae at Ngaruawahia, as part of the second anniversary celebrations of the coronation of King Tuheitia.

The river claim was excluded from the 1995 land settlement given to Waikato-Tainui but has never been far from the minds of the Iwi.

Negotiations started at the end of 2005, with a draft agreement signed in December last year.

The deed of settlement covers co-management of the river, the setting up of a permanent Guardians group and the establishment of a Waikato River Statutory Board.

It'll also include a financial package expected to be worth about $200 million.

The Crown will also acknowledge its failure to respect, and protect, the special relationship between the Iwi and the river, and acknowledge the waterway's degradation.