Two more Northland iwi have signed Treaty of Waitangi settlements, hoping to bring much-needed economic development to the area.
The small Ngai Tatoko iwi and Treaty Minister Chris Finlayson signed a deed of settlement at Te Ahu Centre in Kaitaia yesterday during a three-day celebration.
Te Rarawa were to sign their deed today at Te Ahu.
Mr Finlayson said Ngai Tatoko were left virtually landless by the historical actions of the Crown.
"This area is one of the most deprived in the country. This settlement will provide Ngai Takoto with a strong foundation for economic and social development and will help to transform the social circumstances of their people."
Ngai Takoto's settlement includes $21.04 million in commercial redress, the return of Crown-owned forestry, farm land and culturally significant sites.
Ninety Mile Beach, which is expected to revert to its Maori name Te Oneroa a Tohe, will be managed under a co-governance arrangement with Northland Te Hiku iwi, Northland Regional Council, the Far North District Council and the Department of Conservation.
Ngai Takoto negotiator Rangitane Marsden told the Northern Advocate the settlement would redress and acknowledge the iwi's historical grievances over the past 176 years.
It would also allow the iwi to participate in the development of the Far North.
"It's about moving Northland forward, not just Maori. Our cultures are so intertwined now, the perception that these settlements are for Maori only is misleading."
Te Runanga o Te Rarawa chairman Haami Piripi said the signing today would provide "a springboard for a giant step forward".
Te Rarawa's settlement was innovative and embracing and included a new approach to conservation in the Far North.
The first of the Te Hiku iwi, Te Aupouri, signed its deed in January this year.
Ngati Kuri is expected to follow within months while Ngati Kahu withdrew from the process and is pursuing its grievances separately via the Waitangi Tribunal.