In July 2011 what is commonly known as the Wai 262 Report was released. After a protracted series of hearings, dating back to 1997, the New Zealand Waitangi Tribunal has at last reported on the some of the wide range of issues canvassed in those hearings. Three beautifully illustrated volumes contain a large number of recommendations in what is described as a whole-of-government report. This article notes earlier comments on Wai 262 in this journal and reframes what is often known as the ‘Maori renaissance’ from which this claim emerged in 1991. The Tribunal decided not to discuss historical aspects of the evidence presented, except for the Tohunga Suppression Act 1907, as this was not ‘an orthodox territorial claim’ allowing the Crown to negotiate with iwi for a Treaty Settlement. Of great significance for this readership, the Tribunal staunchly refused to entertain any discussion of ‘ownership’ claims to Maori cultural property. Rather, the Tribunal focussed on ‘perfecting the Treaty partnership’ between the two founding peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand. Its report is concerned with the future and with the Treaty of Waitangi when the nation has moved beyond the grievance mode that has dominated the last quarter century. The partnership principles are pragmatic and flexible. Very seldom indeed can Maori expect to regain full authority over their treasured properties and resources. The eight major topics of the chapters on intellectual property, genetic and biological resources, the environment, the conservation estate, the Maori language, Maori knowledge systems, Maori medicines and international instruments are briefly summarised. The author is critical of this Tribunal panel's timidity in refusing to make strong findings of Treaty breach as the basis for practical recommendations—the approach usually adopted in previous Tribunal reports on contemporary issues. The article then notes that the Wai 262 report featured significantly in 2012 hearings on Maori claims to proprietary rights in freshwater resources. It featured not to assist the freshwater claimants, however, but as a shield wielded by the Crown to try to deny Maori any remedy.The low bar of partnership consultations encouraged by the Wai 262 report was congenial for Crown counsel seeking to undermine Maori claims to customary rights akin to ‘ownership’ of water. The 2012 Tribunal panel, under a new Chief Judge, restrictively distinguished the Wai 262 report and found in favour of Maori rights to water. In conclusion, the article notes the irony of a government following neo-liberal policies in pursuing a privatisation strategy and yet relying on ‘commons’ rhetoric to deny Maori any enforceable rights to water; and of indigenous people arguing for ownership property rights to frustrate that government's policies.