Our Settlement Journey so far


WAI87 submitted


Whakatōhea starts direct negotiations with the Crown


Offer of $40m made to Whakatōhea


Offer withdrawn and negotiations cease


Te Ara Tono developed by Whakatōhea Raupatu Working Party


Tu Ake Whakatōhea Collective develop Whakatōhea Mandate Strategy 2016: Whakatōhea vote accepts mandate strategy and WPCT established


WPCT engage in direct negotiations with the Crown

AUGUST: Agreement in Principle signed Waitangi Tribunal Mandate Inquiry held


Waitangi Tribunal finds Crown breach and suggests vote to check support for continuing with Settlement process

Vote completed, and results show majority support for continuing the Settlement, strong support for the Waitangi Tribunal Inquiry, and minimal support for remandating


JUNE: Waitangi Tribunal District Inquiry approved

SEPTEMBER: Minister of Treaty Negotiations approves for Settlement negotiations to continue in parallel with District Inquiry

2020 — WE ARE HERE:

and looking for whānau input into the Deed of Settlement.

Whakatōhea first attempted to settle the historical Whakatōhea raupatu claims against the Crown in the 1990’s. For almost 25 years our kaumatua have waited for another opportunity to settle our historical Tiriti o Waitangi claims.

In October 2016, the Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust (WPCT) was set up to progress Treaty Settlements with the Crown. The Trust collectively represents about 15,000 whānau, and has representation from marae, hapū and the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board. The Trust believes this Settlement will bring us together and is an opportunity for our people to have a brighter, healthier, more prosperous future.

And we are almost there. We signed an Agreement in Principle in 2017 worth more than $100m, one of the largest Settlements ever negotiated. We are currently working on the Deed of Settlement that will be voted on by members of Whakatōhea later in 2020.

The proposed Settlement for Whakatōhea will provide the tools and a platform for our iwi to realise our aspirations for a prosperous future for our mokopuna. While no Settlement can ever fully compensate Whakatōhea for the wrongs done to our iwi, this is a great foundation for building a better future.

Stages of the Settlement Process

As at May 2020 we currently have an Agreement in Principle and are working toward a Deed of Settlement. With the support of whānau, we are hoping to ratify (approve) the Deed of Settlement by the end of 2020.

But there have been many stages along the way for us to get where we are today. Following is a step by step guide on every stage of this journey, our journey, and an explanation as to what each stage means.


For the purposes of our Settlement, the Whakatōhea claimant group encompasses the whakapapa of the descendants of Muriwai and Tūtāmure and those members (uri) who affiliate to one or more of the hapū and marae o Whakatōhea.

In 2010, Ngāti Ira, Ngāti Ngāhere, Ngāti Rua and Ngāti Patumoana regrouped to consider the next steps in settling our historic claims against the Crown. This grouping of hapū became known as the Tu Ake Whakatōhea Collective.

The Collective sought assistance from the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board (Trust Board) to engage with iwi members of Whakatōhea. They sought to find the most appropriate way to provide a mandate to a representative entity to negotiate the Settlement of the historical claims on behalf of Whakatōhea.

    Over the course of six years the Collective undertook preparation and drafting of a mandate strategy document, which outlined:
  • our history as an iwi, the names of our marae and hapū
  • our common ancestry and traditional boundaries
  • a description of how people would be nominated and elected to represent the claimant group through the establishment of a pre-settlement claims trust, and
  • how approval would be sort from the claimant group to represent them in negotiations.

In November 2014, a draft mandate strategy was presented to the iwi for feedback and submissions. A total of 146 submissions were received, with 122 in support, five in partial support and 19 opposing. Changes were made to reflect submitters’ comments where agreed.

The mandate strategy was presented again for submission between 22 December 2014 and 13 February 2015, followed by another round of feedback in November 2015.

A further meeting was undertaken with the Crown, the Collective and the claimants in opposition. After considering the issues raised in submissions on the draft mandate strategy, the Collective decided to finalise the strategy and submit it to the Crown. The Crown endorsed the final mandate strategy on 13 April 2016.


On 3 June the voting process was completed and a resolution for the establishment of the Whakatōhea Pre-settlement Claims Trust was supported by 91.6% of Whakatōhea members. The nomination, election and appointment process was undertaken for six hapū trustees to be elected, eight marae representatives to be chosen, and one representative from the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board to be appointed. On 16 July 2016, the Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Trust was formed.

On 16 December 2016, the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and the Minister for Māori Development recognised the mandate the Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Trust had to negotiate a Settlement on behalf of our iwi and hapū. This was a huge milestone for the Trust and for Whakatōhea.


The Trust signed our Terms of Negotiation on 17 December, 2016. This document sets out the ground rules for our negotiations with the Crown. It describes what the claimant group and the Crown want to achieve as they enter into direct negotiations. These terms of negotiation are non-binding.

You can read the Terms of Negotiation document here. View Here »


On 5 August 2017 at Waiaua Marae, the Crown presented a comprehensive Settlement offer to Whakatōhea. This would become the basis for the Agreement in Principle we would sign with the Crown later that month.

You can view the Whakatōhea Crown Offer here. View Here »


The Trust and the Crown signed our Agreement in Principle (AIP) for Whakatōhea in August 2017 in Wellington. It was an historic day for our iwi.

This document shows the redress that will be agreed to in the final Settlement. It is not a legally binding document and does not describe what Whakatōhea will get in detail. Before signing this document the Trust consulted our people on the draft AIP. Now our AIP has been signed, the document is public, and anyone can read it to see the kind of Settlement we, and the Crown, are proposing.

You can view the Whakatōhea Agreement in Principle (19MB) here. View Here »


The next step after the AIP is to work out the details of Whakatōhea’s Settlement with the Crown.

When the Trust is happy with the details of the Settlement, both the Trust and the Crown will initial the Draft Deed of Settlement.


Once the draft Deed of Settlement has been initialled, you’ll vote on whether or not to approve the Settlement. This process is called ratification. Members of the Trust will have time to consider the Settlement package on offer, ask questions, and ultimately vote on the Deed of Settlement and the Post Settlement Governance Entity.

  • Every adult member of the Trust (18 years +) has the right to vote
  • You’ll have between two-six weeks to cast your vote.

Photo caption here:
    The process will likely include:
  • Aseries of ratification hui to meet and discuss the terms of the Settlement.
  • You’ll have an opportunity to review the initialled Deed of Settlement.
  • The Trust will give you a summary of the package that the Crown is offering, and will explain how they worked it out.
  • There will be time for questions and discussion.
  • Te Puni Kōkiri will attend the hui to make sure that the process is open and fair, and that everyone who wants to speak is able to.
  • Voting papers and an information booklet will also be mailed to all registered members. You will be able to vote online or by post if you cannot attend a hui.
  • If the Settlement passes the vote, the Settlement will continue to progress to becoming law. If it does not pass, negotiators may, or may not, be able to continue negotiating with the Crown.


When our Settlement is complete, a group known as the Post-Settlement Governance Entity (PSGE) will manage the Settlement assets. A PSGE represents the Iwi and decides how to manage the redress package. It will not necessarily be the same people who represent you during the Settlement process.

    • Our claimant group chooses who will represent them in negotiations.

      Our Iwi representatives and the Crown negotiate the Settlement.Key milestones include:

    • Signing an Agreement in Principle (AIP) – the framework for the Settlement (COMPLETED AUGUST 2017)
    • Initialling a Deed of Settlement (iDOS)
    • Ratification process – voting on the proposed Deed of Settlement and Post-Settlement Governance Entity (PSGE).
    • The claimant group must agree to the proposed Settlement before moving to the next stage. The Crown decides if the ratification voting shows ‘sufficient support’ for the Settlement to go ahead. IT’S YOUR DECISION.


      If ‘sufficient support’ is received, the Settlement goes through the lawmaking process, including:

    • The Settlement is introduced to Parliament as a Bill
    • The Bill goes to the Māori Affairs Select Committee and is open for public submissions
    • The Bill goes through the Second and Third Readings in Parliament, and receives the Royal Assent, becoming law (the Settlement Act)
    • The claimant group receives a letter confirming that the Settlement has been made law and is complete.

      The Crown and the claimant group work together to make sure everything agreed in the Deed of Settlement happens, including:

    • Final steps in the set up of the PSGE and Trust Deed, and the election of Trustees
    • The redress package is transferred to the PSGE within an agreed amount of time, usually 40 working days after the Settlement becomes law
    • All other arrangements detailed in the agreement are implemented.

“Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust is pleased with the Crown’s decision to continue Settlement negotiations with Whakatōhea without delay, and in parallel to the Waitangi Tribunal District Inquiry into claims for the north-eastern Bay of Plenty area.”

WPCT Chairman Graeme Riesterer

A Waitangi Tribunal District Inquiry is a mechanism for our people to have their grievances heard. The Trust is in total support of continuing our negotiations with the Crown while our people can have their say through this process (a ‘parallel process’). What this will provide is further depth to the history of Whakatōhea, your stories, our stories. We are all Whakatōhea.

What is a Waitangi Tribunal Inquiry?

A Waitangi Tribunal Inquiry involves the Tribunal holding hearings into Treaty Claims. Further research into claims would be conducted and the Tribunal would hear directly from claimants, whānau, and professional historians about their experiences and the Crown breaches of the Treaty since 1840. The Tribunal would assess that research and other evidence (including from the Crown) to make findings on how the Crown has breached the Treaty and what should be done about it.

Whakatōhea involvement in the Waitangi Tribunal

WAI 1750 District Inquiry

Whakatōhea is part of the WAI1750 North-Eastern Bay of Plenty District Inquiry. The Inquiry includes over 100 claims including those from Whakatōhea, Ngāi Tai, and Te Whānau a Apānui. View here »

On the 30th September 2019, Hon Andrew Little confirmed a parallel process which allows other Whakatōhea grievances to be heard by the Waitangi Tribunal regardless of whether our claims have been settled by direct negotiations.

This has never before been done and reflects the results of the vote suggested by the Waitangi Tribunal following the WAI2662 Whakatōhea Mandate Inquiry, where a total of 2,726 valid votes were cast with 53% opting to support the Trust continuing to negotiate the Whakatōhea Settlement, and 48% wanting to have a Waitangi Tribunal hearing.

WAI 2662 Whakatōhea Mandate Inquiry

In November 2017 the Waitangi Tribunal held an urgent hearing at Whakatāne to assess whether the Crown’s decision to recognise the Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust Deed of Mandate was fair, reasonable and made in good faith.

After considering submissions from a number of hapū representatives, the Tribunal released the Whakatōhea Mandate Inquiry Report in April 2018.

This reported outlined the Tribunal’s findings that the Crown should not have recognised the Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust Deed of Mandate in December 2016 and that the Crown had prioritised its political objective of concluding Settlements by mid-2020 over a process that was fair to Whakatōhea.It also recommended a temporary halt to negotiations so that Whakatōhea hapū be given a chance to vote on how our iwi should proceed.

At the time, the Trust welcomed the chance to test the pulse of our people through this vote. The results of the vote can be found here. View Here »

No. They are two different entities who are responsible to Whakatōhea members. The Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust or WPCT, has been chosen by Whakatōhea whānau to negotiate with the Crown to reach a Settlement. The Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board or WMTB, are responsible for the management of the Tribal Database and current Whakatōhea assets. Once Settlement is reached, these 2 entities will likely combine into one. This is called the Post Settlement Governance Entity or PSGE. What the PSGE will look like is currently being researched.

Both organisations serve the same membership, te Iwi o Whakatōhea, and trustees are elected by their respective hapū (and marae in the case of WPCT). Some hapū/marae have elected the same person to represent them in both forums.

Yes, the Crown has recognised the WPCT mandate to negotiate the Settlement following the initial Iwi wide vote in 2016 and the Iwi wide vote to continue negotiations following the Mandate Inquiry. The Crown also agreed to allow Whakatōhea to continue with a Tribunal Inquiry process after the Settlement process is completed. This is the first time this has been allowed.

Representatives from each hapū actively participated in the processes that led to the establishment of Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust. The Trust has representation from each hapū and all marae (except Roimata).

No. There are 25 claims relating to Whakatōhea listed in the AIP. An Iwi Settlement always settles the claims made on behalf of the members of that Iwi. The majority of the claimants wanted to have a Waitangi Tribunal hearing and that outcome has been delivered. The Settlement process will settle the grievances of the Iwi (also known as the claimant community) and the Iwi decides who represents them in this process.

When Whakatōhea began the Settlement negotiation process in the 1990s there was only one claim: Wai87. This was essentially an iwi-wide claim. However, anyone is able to submit a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, and since the 1900s a number of people have put in additional claims on behalf of different whānau and hapū. The Whakatōhea negotiations are being done on behalf of the Whakatōhea claimant community and include whānau, hapū, and the iwi claims that sit within our rohe.

Ngāti Muriwai were recognised in the granting of land for the Opape Native Reserve. They were not included as a hapū when the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board was established in the 1950s. Some argue they are a part of Ngāti Rua and should be recognised as such.

Dates have not been set for the remaining stages however, we are in the middle of compiling the ratification strategy on the AIP. Once this has been completed, likely end of June 2020, then Whakatōhea will once again be given the opportunity to vote on whether the Settlement should be accepted. If Whakatōhea decides to accept the Settlement, it will be given effect through legislation. If we continue on our current path we could have the chance to ratify (vote on) the Deed of Settlement before the end of October 2020. If we decide not to continue with the current negotiations, then it is likely that more time will be required for a Treaty Settlement to be completed. It is safe to say that if this is our decision, a Settlement will likely not be achieved for at least 10 years.

The Mokomoko whānau have already worked with the Crown. They have received two pardons and had the last one statutorily recognised to restore Mokomoko’s mana. The whānau participated within the Te Urewera inquiry process and achieved a recommendation for an education fund. They continue to engage directly with the Crown. Contrary to what has been reported, the Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust have always supported ongoing engagement between the Crown and the Mokomoko whānau. While Mokomoko was a raNgātira of Whakatōhea and is central to our history of raupatu, the whānau suffered much and should be able to negotiate reparation for their tīpuna.

MACA is the Marine and Coastal Area Act also known as the Takutai Moana Act. A consent has been applied for over the 5000ha marine space to ensure that it is protected against other commercial users. While that application sits, no-one else will be able to gain a consent over that area. The Settlement does not affect Takutai Moana claims. The AIP states on pg. 69 that: 1.4 To avoid doubt, the Settlement of the historical claims of Whakatōhea will not affect applications by iwi, hapū or whānau of Whakatōhea for the recognition of protected customary rights or customary marine title under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011. This statement is very clear.

The financial value of the Settlement exceeds $100million which is one of the top ten that have been negotiated and in the top three on a per capita basis. This is not necessarily where the true value of the Settlement is. In commercial terms the prospective value of the sea space that has been secured has a potential to dwarf the number value set out within the Settlement. In social terms, the number of jobs that will be generated will ensure that our people can return home and prosper. We could also develop our own infrastructure to support them, as our tīpuna sought to do. In cultural terms, the Settlement itself will equip the Iwi to assert huge authority and influence over and within our rohe in a practical expression of mana whenua and mana moana.

There are only six Iwi Settlements with a greater value than this offer. Most of those Settlements are for iwi with much greater populations than ours at approximately 15,000 (as at April 2020) e.g. Waikato-Tainui (40,083), Ngai Tahu (54,819), Tuhoe (34,887), Ngāti Porou (71,049) – Source: 2013 Census figures. Note also, these iwi have achieved their Settlements, without going through a Tribunal Inquiry.

There is no aquaculture farm in the world that is bigger than the space that has been allocated for Te Whakatōhea. We have now managed to lock this down for Whakatōhea. The Settlement will assist us in turning the space into something significant for our people and ensure our intergenerational development. With the recent announcement about funding for the Harbour entrance and the Mussel factory the aquaculture space will be able to be fully developed.

It is a document that sets the strategy and priorities for the Department of Conservation as to how the area will be managed over the next ten-year period. The Conservation Management Strategy covers the Bay of Plenty region, however we will get a Whakatōhea specific chapter within that document as it relates to our land. In this respect, we would co-author the chapter which sets the strategy and the priorities within our rohe. We do this as equals rather than as a group to be consulted. Our chapter is about the things we want to achieve within our rohe and ensures an effective level of control over these lands.

The education fund is an endowment fund. This means that the fund, and any income made off investing it has to be directed to education purposes. In our view, the fund should be invested and distributions made solely out of the income. This would ensure that it would not only be there forever, but that it would also grow.

We also prioritised a relationship with the Tertiary Education Commission as capacity building is vital to realising the benefits of development. If we train people but can’t create jobs, we just export them to other places. If we create jobs, but our people don’t have the skills we end up importing labour.

The cultural revitalisation fund has been put together on the basis that we need to support the Marae and that the Marae would get 500k each. An additional $1 million would also be available to support the cultural strategy.

The main blocks of Māori land left in our hands are within the Opape Native Reserve and Hiwarau Reserve. Development opportunities are constrained by a lack of capital so we had to find a way to support new developments of our land blocks.