Tūhoe negotiator Tamati Kruger predicts that by 2045, Tūhoe will no longer be dependent on government policies. This is part of the 40-year plan promised in the Tūhoe Settlement.
Around 5000 Tūhoe who live in their region engage in services of government agencies.
It's a statistic that Kruger hopes to change. He says, “It's an enormous task but we believe we will see the fruits in 40 years.”
Tūhoe wants control of their welfare, schools, health care and housing within Te Urewera which covers Ruatoki, Waimana, Waiohau, Ruatāhuna and Waikaremoana.
Kruger says, “There may be some Tūhoe who don't believe we can achieve this. There may also be a generation who has grown up and doesn't know their tribe and that the hapū have the power.”
Following the Tūhoe Settlement, the tribe has gone into a slow transition. Te Urewera is no longer a National Park under the Department of Conservation.
Kruger says it's the start of the decolonisation of his people. “We can grow a generation who knows the strength of their tribe that is now taking ownership of the well-being of its people, taking it away from the Crown and the government,” explains Kruger.
Kruger says the 40-year plan is being driven by the sub-tribes of Tūhoe with the hope of being able to control their own destiny in the future.