Deed of Settlement (New Zealand)


A Deed of Settlement is the comprehensive and final agreement reached between the crown and a claimant group in the process for the historical settlement of grievances under the Treaty of Waitangi (1840).

Extended Definition

Once an Agreement in Principle or a Heads of Agreement has been signed, the Crown and the claimants work on the finer details of the settlement to agree on a draft Deed of Settlement which must be approved by Cabinet and initialled between the Crown and the mandated representatives detailing the comprehensive and final terms of the agreement. The redress that the Crown might give to the claimants may include: the Crown’s acknowledgement and apology of past injustices; financial and commercial redress; the transfer of lands within the claim area; and mechanisms for recognising other important interests that claimants might have. The Deed must then be clearly approved by the wider claimant group through a ratification process which involves a postal ballot available to all members of the claimant group over the age of 18. The proposed governance entity for the settlement, which will hold and manage settlement assets, can also be ratified at this stage. Once the Deed is ratified, the Crown and claimants sign the final Deed of Settlement at which time it becomes binding. Legislation is often required to fully implement the Deed of Settlement.