More than 100 workers locked out of AFFCO's sheep and beef plant in Wairoa can't wait to return to work, now that company management and the Meat Workers Union have settled their 12 week dispute.
Nationally, about 78% of AFFCO employees are Maori, and in Wairoa, where Affco is the major employer, 60% of the population is Maori.
Therese Turipa has spent 12 years at the plant but says the past three months have been tough, but it was important workers didn't cave in to management demands.
She says workers have to stand up and fight for what they know is right,
Ms Turipa says she and her fellow workers were standing up for not only themselves but the whole Wairoa community when they refused to go back on Affco's terms.
Now the dispute has been settled, the workers hope that Affco will become a better company for which to work.
Wairoa workers will have a chance next Monday to ratify a new site agreement for the plant.