In May 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed at Akaroa and the following month at Ruapuke and Ōtākou.
Ngāi Tahu chiefs signed for and on behalf of their iwi and therefore Ngāi Tahu became a Treaty partner of the British crown.
The vast holdings of Ngāi Tahu were a compelling attraction to colonisers and throughout the 1840s and 1850s numerous land transactions were carried out.
However, from the outset Crown officials failed to uphold their promises in relation to a number of agreements, and in particular, Kemp’s purchase of 1848, which secured 20,000,000 acres of Ngāi Tahu land including Christchurch City.
The transaction and its mishandling laid much of the basis for the Ngāi Tahu claim Te Kerēme that was finally settled with the passing of the 1998 Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act.
Ngāi Tahu established a complex structure to administer the provisions of the settlement and with the commercial arm aims to grow the resources of the tribe for the benefit of descendants into the future.