Treaty negotiations for the Tongariro National Park will get under way by July, Andrew Little has confirmed.
The Labour minister for the portfolio told 1 NEWS a settlement was long overdue.
"It is about putting to rest 178 years of oppression and confiscation and suppression. So this is the stuff that lifts the spirit again," Mr Little said.
The 80,000 hectare national park is the country’s oldest and gets over a million visitors a year.
It takes in the volcanic plateau and includes Mt Tongariro, Ngaruahoe and Ruapehu.
Ngati Tuwharetoa made what's known as a tuku or gift of parts of the mountains in 1887.
But the Waitangi Tribunal's found that that gift amounted to an offer of partnership – with the Crown as joint custodians.
It also found the Crown didn't provide compensation for land which became part of the national park.