25 Nov 2017

Ngāi Tahu hold biennial hui

11:34 am on 25 November 2017

Ngāi Tahu whanau from across the country and abroad descended upon Tuahiwi Marae near Christchurch for the iwi's biennial hui-ā-iwi celebrations this weekend.

The Ngai Tahu hui on Friday.

The Ngai Tahu hui on Friday. Photo: Supplied

It was a time for reflection for the iwi, who are celebrating 20 years since signing the deed of settlement for their Treaty of Waitangi claim.

Māori leaders, politicians and iwi members were led onto Tauhiwi Marae for a powhiri by the brisk bustle of the Ratana Church band's trumpets.

The pōwhiri was held inside a white marquee.

Lisa Tumahai, the recently elected kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, said it was humbling to be a part of the celebrations.

Some of the successes of the tribe include Whai Rawa - a saving scheme with $63 million currently under management.

The iwi has also rolled out a pilot housing initiative providing funding so families can move into their own homes.

Despite the iwi's commercial base being worth around $1.3 billion, she said the key now was to continue investing in the well-being of its people.

"The exciting thing is our commitment to continue working to create a better future for our people so it's a great privilege for us to be a part of that."

Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene said the iwi has worked to build sound business structures and engage a broad representation of its hapu.

"It's great that 20 years has flown by really, really fast - but I think we can look back with pride and be very proud of the fact that we've come this far."

Aroha Rereti Croft said it was exciting to be at the hui-a-iwi more than 30 years after the iwi's first tribunal hearing was held at Tauhiwi Marae.

She said the iwi has done well to grow a $170 million settlement - one that was a fraction of the true worth of the claim.

"We continue to grow and succeed and while we may take one step forward and get knocked back two steps we still get that one step forward."

Kahu White and Madison Simons both have Matakahi scholarships - giving students the chance to not only advance their careers but explore their Ngāi Tahu roots.

Madison Simons has been part of a generation that has grown up in the post-treaty settlement world.

She remembers being a five-year-old running around the office of the iwi's radio station Tahu FM, and the iwi finding its feet after the settlement.

Kahu White said it was a tribute to the hard work that Ngāi Tahu laid down for future generations.

"If it wasn't for those key people that persevered through a lot of that stuff - we wouldn't see all the fruits of their mahi and hard work."

The hui-ā-iwi wraps up on Sunday.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs