Last South Island iwi signs Treaty settlement

7:20 am on 22 April 2013

The last South Island iwi to settle its Treaty of Waitangi claim has signed a deed of settlement.

On Saturday, the Crown and Ngati Tama ki Te Tah Ihu signed the deal at a ceremony at Onetahua Marae in Pohara, Golden Bay.

The Nelson iwi will receive a settlement package that includes cultural and financial redress of $12 million.

Iwi leader Fred Te Miha says the tribe's settlement trust will hold off spending any of that money for the next two years but plans in the meantime to co-operate with Ngai Tahu.

He says an agreement has already been signed with the major South Island iwi under which they will work together on commercial and cultural ventures.

Mr Te Miha acknowledges tribal elders who carried the Waitangi Tribunal campaign saying a lot of kaumatua who started negotiations 12 years ago are dead and played an important part in getting to the final settlement stage.

He says a previous chair Janice Manson, who tragically died in a car accident, was part of the original team.

And former chair Kerry Stephens was also instrumental in the settlement process.

Mr Te Miha says it's important to remember these people because they played a big part in Ngati Tama's negotiations with the Crown.

The settlement is the 62nd deed signed since 1990.

Treaty of Waitangi Negotations Minister Christopher Finlayson says the historial settlements in the South Island have been resolved.

He says there are still a number of settlements to be reached with North Island iwi.