3 Nov 2011

Iwi hails Treaty agreement

5:27 pm on 3 November 2011

One of the five northern-most tribes say their Treaty settlement is an historic breakthrough for the shared governance of conservation, land and beaches.

Te Rarawa initialled its settlement deed at Parliament on Thursday afternoon, after 10 years of negotiation.

Iwi chairman Haami Piripi, says under the agreement two new statutory boards will be set up, with iwi and Crown appointees.

He says one - made up of iwi and local councils - will manage Te Oneroa-a-Tohe, or 90 Mile Beach, and the other will oversee management of the local Department of Conservation estate.

Mr Piripi says that is a first, in that it gives statutory recognition of tangata whenua's role as kaitiaki, or guardians of the environment.

The deal, which is yet to be ratified, includes compensation for Te Rarawa of more than 30-million dollars, properties in Kaitaia, two Landcorp farms, a share of the Aupouri forest, and forestry licences.

While it has been talking for a decade, Te Rarawa first lodged a claim in 1987.

Four other iwi, Ngai Takoto, Te Aupouri, Ngati Kuri and Ngati Kahu, are still working through their claims.

The agreement means the iwi and the Crown will co-manage 90 Mile Beach, while guaranteeing public access.

Revenue currently collected by the Crown from tourist buses which use the beach, will go to a joint body Crown tribal agency, that will spend the money on projects to regenerate flora and fauna.

The deal will also include an apology and the return of seven farms and a forestry block.