The government says there’s ‘sufficient support’ from Ngāti Maniapoto Iwi to ratify the $180 Million Te Tiriti o Waitangi settlement, negotiated by the Maniapoto Māori Trust Board.
Ratification will mark the end of a 20-year negotiation with the Crown. Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson and Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little say they acknowledge the board as the official negotiating body for the iwi.
“We are satisfied the ratification process was carried out in a robust manner and provided all adult members of Ngāti Maniapoto with the opportunity to receive information about, discuss, and vote on the deed of settlement,” they said.
Whānau aged 18 and over who whakapapa to Maniapoto were asked to vote on three resolutions over the settlement package, the proposed post-settlement governance entity (PSGE), which will administer settlement assets, and the transfer of fisheries assets from the trust board to the new entity.
Polling confirmed support for all three resolutions; 84.35% backing the settlement, 82.53% supporting the post-settlement entity and 82.44% agreeing on the transfer of fisheries assets.
Trust Board chair Keith Ikin conceded just 37% of whānau voted on the proposals but said 14,000 ballots were delivered to Iwi and he was confident everyone who wanted to have their say, had done so.
“We had the highest voter participation (37.07%) from our people that we have ever had, with a very strong majority in support.” he said.
Ikin says the next step is the establishment of the post settlement entity ‘Te Nehenehenui’, before a deed signing ceremony.
“This is a significant day for all of us within Te Rohe Pōtae. It will be an opportunity to come together and chart our aspirations for the future. The challenges of Covid-19 will mean that we will need to work in a way that ensures the safety and wellbeing of our people,” he said.
The exact signing date is yet to be determined due to Covid-19 alert levels but Ikin expects the process to be complete in 2022.
“Our expectation is that the settlement will become law within 18 months of the signing of settlement,” he said.