The New Zealand Parliament passed the Central North Island Forests Land Collective Settlement Act on 25 September that provides the largest Treaty of Waitangi claim settlement to date.
Seven central North Island iwi (Maori tribes) forming the collective are to receive $195.7m of crown forest land covering 176,000 hectares, plus about $223m in rentals that have accumulated on the land since 1989 and an annual income stream of $13m. The iwi represent over 100,000 tribal members.
The settlement only covers claims to Crown forest lands in the central North Island, but not other parts of claims the iwi may still have with the Crown. Only public land is involved in the settlement and public access to the forest land covered by the settlement will continue.
The iwi represented in the collective formed to negotiate the settlment with the Crown are Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Whare, Ngati Manawa, Raukawa and the affiliate Te Arawa Iwi and Hapu. An eighth iwi, Ngati Rangitihi, may yet join the settlement.
Note: the "Tree Lords" is a comparative reference to an earlier fisheries settlement that was commonly referred to as "Sealords" involving the joint venture purchase of a fisheries company Sealord as part of the earlier claim settlement.