The petition was signed by all the leading Ngāi Tahu chiefs of the time. They asked that the Crown put aside adequate reserves of land for the iwi, as agreed to under the terms of its land purchases. In the 20 years from 1844, Ngāi Tahu signed land sale contracts with the Crown for some 34.5 million acres, approximately 80% of the South Island, Te Waipounamu. The Crown failed to allocate one-tenth of the land to the iwi, nor did it pay a fair price, as it agreed.
Over the ensuing seven generations, Ngāi Tahu continued to seek redress from the Crown, with this work becoming known as Te Kerēme – The Ngāi Tahu Claim. Individuals, whānau and hapū tirelessly pursued the vision of Matiaha Tiramorehu and through petitions, a series of commissions of inquiry, two years of Waitangi Tribunal Hearings and eventually four years of direct negotiations with the Crown, the Ngāi Tahu Settlement Act was signed in 1998. It brought an end to Te Kerēme and ushered in a new era of co-operation and partnership between Ngāi Tahu and the Crown.