Supporters listen to the first reading of the Central North
Island Forests Collective Settlement Bill
A collective of seven central North Island iwi will
become the largest single forestry landowner in New Zealand
under a Treaty of Waitangi settlement signed with the Crown.
The settlement, know as Treelord, transfers 176,000 hectares
of state-owned forest worth more than $400 million in land
It is the biggest Treaty settlement in history, and Treaty
Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen says it paves the way
for finalising other claims.
Dr Cullen signed the agreement in Parliament yesterday with
Ngati Tuhoe, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Whare,
Ngati Manawa, Raukawa and the affiliate Te Arawa Iwi and
A few hours later, iwi representatives packed Parliament's
public galleries as MPs voted unanimously to pass the first
reading of a bill that will enact the settlement.
MPs from all parties praised the iwi negotiators and Dr
Cullen for finalising the Treelord claim.
National's Georgina te Heuheu said the injustice went back
several generations, and the ramifications of the settlement
would flow on to future generations.
The forest lands are to be managed by the collective, which
is setting up a holding company and management structure.
Prime Minister Helen Clark described the settlement as an
historic journey, while Tuwharetoa paramount chief Tumu te
Heuheu said significant assets were being returned to central
North Island iwi.