On 5 August 2014, at Ruakā Marae in Rānana, the Crown and Whanganui Iwi signed Ruruku Whakatupua, the deed of settlement for the Whanganui River.
Ruruku Whakatupua has two parts – Te Mana o Te Awa Tupua and Te Mana o Te Iwi o Whanganui – which together give legal recognition to Te Awa Tupua, establish a new legal framework for the Whanganui River (Te Pā Auroa nā Te Awa Tupua), and provide redress in settlement of the historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of Whanganui Iwi in relation to the Whanganui River.
Ruruku Whakatupua was the culmination of well over a century’s effort by the Iwi to protect and provide for our special relationship with the Whanganui River in the face of adverse acts by the Crown and its agents.
The signing of Ruruku Whakatupua was a momentous day for the Iwi; signalling the Crown’s recognition for the first time of both the Whanganui River as an indivisible and metaphysical whole and the inalienable relationship between the iwi and hapū of Whanganui and Te Awa Tupua.
Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui is the post settlement governance entity for Whanganui Iwi for the purpose of the Whanganui River Settlement and was established on 4 August 2014.
Ngā Tāngata Tiaki in the establishment period, will be responsible for:
- Establishing the office of Ngā Tāngata Tiaki and the infrastructure and strategic planning needed to support the responsibilities and obligations of Whanganui Iwi under the settlement;
- Taking the steps necessary to conduct full trustee’s elections in 2015;
- Working closely with Whanganui Iwi, the Crown local government, other iwi with interests and local stakeholders in relations to advancing the aspriatons of the River Settlements;
- Working with the Whanganui River Maori Trust Board Pakaitore Trust and Te Whiringa Muka Trust in relations to the wind-up of those entities and the transition to Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui; and
- Initiating relevant projects and implementation programme under the River Settlement, including the scoping study on the health and wellbeing of Te Awa Tupua and Whanganui Iwi capacity building, education, marae infrastructure and cultural revitalisation projects.