The Whangaehu River will now be recognised as an indivisible and living being. It is one of the outcomes of the Ngāti Rangi Claims Settlement Bill - Rukutia Te Mana, which passed its final reading in parliament today.
It’s a new chapter for Ngāti Rangi in their Treaty settlement journey, 178 years since it began.
Ngā Waihua o Paerangi Trust chairman Che Wilson says, "We are very glad. It's a momentous occasion to have reached this point. Now we begin the next part of the journey."
Chairwoman of Ngāti Rangi post-settlement entity, Te Tōtarahoe o Paerangi, Soraya Peke-Mason says, "It's about the here and now and the future, our mokopuna, our tamariki, our rangatahi. It's in their hands but it's really important that we establish a foundation that is going to be strong, that is going to be collaborative."
Ngāti Rangi will receive $17mil financial and commercial redress, including a cultural fund of more than $150,000.
Six sites of cultural significance will be returned, including the beds of Rotokura Lakes.
The settlement also establishes Te Waiū-o-Te-Ika, a new legal framework for the Whangaehu River to recognise the river as an indivisible and living whole.
Wilson says, "There are three rivers with this level of recognition; Whanganui, our river and the Waikato River so we are very pleased."
Te Kāhui o Paerangi chairman Whetu Moataane says, “We have positions on boards to work alongside local councils and government to clean our river and prioritise its wellbeing."
The deed excludes redress over the Tongariro National Park which will be negotiated separately between Ngāti Rangi, other hapū and the Crown.