$120m for Whanganui iwi

Whanganui iwi will receive $120 million from the Crown upon settlement of the Whanganui River Treaty of Waitangi claim.

The agreement also gives the river its own legal identity.

The historical Whanganui River Treaty of Waitangi claim that Whanganui iwi have been pursuing thorough the courts since 1873 came a step closer today with the initialling of the Deed of Settlement and Te Awa Tupua Framework Document.

Whanganui iwi negotiators and the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Chris Finlayson initialled the deed and document, which now has to go to iwi members to be ratified.

The Te Awa Tupua document recognises the status of the Whanganui River and its tributaries as an entity "an integrated living whole from the mountains to the sea, intrinsically connected to the iwi and having its own legal identity", Mr Finlayson said.

The settlement includes $80 million in redress and setting up a $30 million contestable fund that will be available for initiatives related to Te Awa Tupua.

The agreement also allows for Crown-owned parts of the riverbed to be handed over to iwi.

No water rights have been created.

Two guardians, one from the Crown and one from Whanganui River iwi, will be given the role of protecting the river.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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