A unique feature of the CNI Forests Collective Settlement was the agreement that iwi themselves, rather than the Crown, would decide which areas of the returned land would rightfully belong to each iwi. The land has been transferred as a whole to CNIIHL, which will then carry out the two year process of identifying, discussing and eventually agreeing the respective mana whenua interests. This is known as the mana whenua process.
The mana whenua process takes place officially between 1 July 2009 and 30 June 2013. The overall approach for the mana whenua process was designed by the Collective during the settlement negotiation process, and is specified in the CNI Forests Collective Act 2008. However the details of how the mana whenua process will work in practice are now being decided by iwi. The importance of undertaking the process in the spirit of whanaungatanga, manaakitanga and kotahitanga can not be over emphasised.
Kia kotahi ano o tātou whakaaro, kei a tātou te mana (let our thoughts be one – our mana vests in us as a Collective).
The mana whenua process will be monitored by CNIIHL. It has the following three main stages, which flow towards a Final Allocation Agreement:
Stage 1: Identification of mana whenua interests – July 2009 to September 2009 (now complete);
Stage 2: Kanohi ki te kanohi Negotiation – October 2009 to June 2010, now underway; and
Stage 3: Dispute Resolution – July 2010 to June 2013 (if necessary).