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Negotiations - getting a Deed of Settlement

The details of a settlement between the Crown and a claimant group are worked out during the negotiations part of the process.

1. Writing an Agreement in Principle document with the Crown

When your representatives and the Crown have come to an initial agreement about a settlement, they’ll write an Agreement in Principle (AIP) document. This can take 12 to 18 months.

The AIP shows the redress that will be agreed on in the final settlement. It's not a legally binding document, and it does not describe what your claimant group will get in detail. Your negotiators will work out the details of your settlement with the Crown after signing the AIP.

Once it’s signed, the document will be public. Anyone can read it to see the kind of settlement that your representatives and the Crown are proposing.

2. Drafting the Deed of Settlement document

Working out the details of a settlement is the longest part of the settlement process. The discussions between your negotiators and the Crown are confidential and can take 12 to 18 months, or longer. The negotiators and the Crown need to:

  • talk to each government agency who’ll have post-settlement commitments to your claimant group to make sure they understand what they’ll need to do 
  • talk to other claimant groups who have overlapping claims to make sure that redress will be fair for everyone
  • work out the details of every piece of redress being offered to make sure that it meets your group’s expectations, and to protect any rights that others may have to it.

Your negotiators will work out a proposed settlement for your claimant group. When they think it'll meet the group’s approval, they’ll put it into a Draft Deed of Settlement document. Your representatives and the Crown will initial the Draft Deed of Settlement.

Initialling the document means that it’s ready for the claimant group to consider. It does not mean that the terms of settlement are approved. There’s still time to make changes if the deed does not meet the group’s expectations.

3. Approving the draft Deed of Settlement document

Once the draft Deed of Settlement has been initialled, you’ll vote on whether or not to approve the settlement. The Crown cannot sign the Deed of Settlement until it’s sure that the claimant group as a whole accepts it. It must be a full, final and comprehensive settlement of your group’s historical grievances against the Crown.

How the Deed of Settlement is shared with the claimant group and voted on is up to your representatives, but it will be similar to the process you went through when your representatives were getting mandated.

  1. There will be hui advertised at marae in your rohe to meet and discuss the terms of the settlement. 
  2. You’ll have an opportunity to review the initialled Deed of Settlement.
  3. Your representatives will give you a summary of the package that the Crown is offering, and will explain how they worked it out. 
  4. There will be time for questions and discussion.
  5. Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK) will attend the hui to make sure that the process is open and fair, and that everyone who wants to speak is able to.

If you do not live in the rohe and cannot make it to a hui, you should get this information in the post.

4. Choosing a group to manage your settlement assets

When your settlement is complete, a group known as the Post Settlement Governance Entity (PSGE) will manage your assets. The PSGE needs to be set up before your settlement becomes final and is made law.

This group will:

  • represent the claimant group after the settlement is complete
  • decide how to manage the redress package for the benefit of everyone.

The PSGE will not be the same people who represent your claimant group during the settlement process. While you’re considering the Deed of Settlement, you’ll also be asked to decide how your PSGE is made up.

5. Voting on the Deed of Settlement and your PSGE

Once the hui have been held and everyone has had time to consider the settlement and ask questions, you’ll be asked to vote on the Deed of Settlement and your PSGE. Your representatives will hire an independent group to run the vote.

  1. Everyone in the claimant group who’s 18 or over will get voting papers. 
  2. You’ll have between 2 and 6 weeks to cast your vote and return your papers - the date you need to have your vote in by will be on your voting papers.

6. Accepting the settlement

Once the voting is complete, your representatives will let the Minister know the results. It’s unlikely that your claimant group would vote not to accept the settlement at this stage. If that is the result, your representatives will talk to you about what made the settlement unacceptable. They’ll continue to negotiate with the Crown on your behalf.

If your claimant group accepts the settlement package:

  • the Minister will send a letter to your representatives acknowledging the result of the vote, and
  • any other groups with overlapping claims will get a letter letting them know that your settlement has been accepted.

There will be a signing ceremony to celebrate the settlement. It’s generally held on one of the marae in your rohe, or at Parliament.

If it’s at:

  • a marae, your representatives and the marae committee will invite people to attend the ceremony
  • Parliament, there’s a limit to how many people can go. Your representatives will choose people to attend.


During negotiations, your representatives will get funding to cover:

  • time spent negotiating with the Crown
  • organising hui
  • hiring a company to manage the voting.

Find out more about funding

Who’s involved

The claimant group, claimant representatives and the Crown.

The claimant group will:

  • vote on the proposed settlement
  • vote on who should be part of the PSGE
  • attend the signing ceremony when the settlement is finalised.

Your claimant representatives will:

  • work with the Crown to draft an AIP and sign it on the claimant group’s behalf
  • work with the Crown to draft a Deed of Settlement
  • consider the draft Deed of Settlement and initial the document
  • propose a PSGE to manage the claimant group’s assets after settlement
  • hold a vote to decide on both the settlement and the PSGE
  • attend the signing ceremony when the settlement is finalised.

The Crown will:

  • work with your representatives and negotiators to develop an AIP and a Deed of Settlement
  • acknowledge the result of the vote
  • notify other claimant groups when your settlement package is accepted
  • attend the signing ceremony when the settlement is finalised.

Staying informed

Your representatives will keep you up to date with pānui, and you can also check to see if your claimant group has a website or a Facebook page where you can get updates.

You can talk to your representatives about the negotiations if the information you’re getting does not answer any questions you have. They cannot give you details as discussions with the Crown are confidential, but they might be able to answer your questions.

Next steps

Parliament will pass a law to make your Deed of Settlement legally binding.

Utility links and page information

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