The process of determining Mana Whenua interests for 23 Central North Island (CNI) forest blocks (refer CNI Holdings Ltd map)
was set out in the CNI Forests Collective Settlement of 2008. A unique feature of the CNI settlement was the agreement that the eight CNI iwi themselves, rather than the Crown, would decide which areas of the returned land would rightfully belong to each iwi. The process would comprise kanohi ki te kanohi negotiations first and then adjudication if required.
In 2014, after a number of years of unsuccessful kanohi ki te kanohi negotiations, nine Kaingaroa forest blocks went to adjudication. Te Mana was represented by Graham Pryor, Tane Turei and Hāpai-Ō Anthony Olsen. Presentations to the Adjudication Panel included:
3-D Map Flyover of Ngati Rangitihi Sites in the Kaingaroa
An Overview of Customary Interests in CNI Forest Lands (Stirling, July 2011)
On 26 June 2014, the Adjudication Panel announced its findings on the nine blocks. The Mana Whenua interests of Ngati Rangitihi were appropriately recognised:
Mana Whenua Conclusions from Adjudication Findings (26 June 2014)
Recognition of Ngāti Rangitihi Mana Whenua Interests
With the adjudication process for these blocks complete, negotiations on the 14 remaining forest blocks (4 of them in the Kaingaroa) will continue.
The final allocation agreement for the Central North Island forests land is effective from 1 July 2044. Meanwhile the company holding the returned land, Central North Island Iwi Holdings Ltd, will continue to manage the land and receive and distribute the income from the land to the eight Iwi according to their agreed proportions set out in the original settlement, until 1 July 2044.