Today marks a momentous occasion for Waikato-Tainui as they look back at their accomplishments over the last 20 years.
One of which was the signing of their Deed of Settlement with then Prime Minister Jim Bolger supported by the late Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu.
According to Koro Wetere, “The iwi will never forget when our lands were confiscated, and in the end land was taken, but land was also returned and that's the fruits of our labour.”
Over 1.2 million acres of land was confiscated, and only a small portion of that was returned. Waikato Raupatu Claims Settlement Act passed into law in 1995 becoming the only settlement legislation to date signed by Queen Elizabeth II.
Rahui Papa says, “It's a day to remember the wrong doings of the Crown, it's a day to remember that the Crown acknowledges those wrong doings. Te Atairangikaahu accepted the Crown's apology, so it's an important day.”
This is only the beginning of the tribes many celebrations that will continue in the New Year.