Iwi and councils to sign Upper Waikato River agreements

Iwi and councils to sign Upper Waikato River agreements

Te Arawa River Iwi Trust (TARIT) is to enter into separate agreements over the Upper Waikato River, with Rotorua District Council (RDC) and Waikato Regional Council.

The parties have recently finalised the agreements, which will be signed at a ceremony on 28 August at Kearoa Marae in Horohoro.

The agreements are legislative requirements of the Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi Waikato River Act 2010, and are aimed at restoring and protecting the health and wellbeing of the river and its tributaries for present and future generations.

“The river, and waters that flow from it, have provided sustenance to our marae and whanau for generations but now the water quality is under threat and we must all work together to make it healthy again,” said Te Arawa River Iwi Trust chairman Roger Pikia.

Mr Pikia said achieving a healthy river would require a long-term effort.

“It will need the help and support of the entire community, from farmers and recreational users to local authorities. It means that this agreement will be one of many steps in that important journey.” 

Regional council chairman Peter Buckley said: “This agreement with Te Arawa is another significant step in our work with iwi to better protect and restore the health of the Waikato River.

“I thank Te Arawa river iwi for the very constructive approach they have taken during our joint work on this agreement. The river is a taonga for all of us to protect.”

Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters said the council was pleased to be entering into a strategic partnership with Te Arawa River Iwi Trust.

“The quality of our waterways remains the most important strategic issue to our wider Rotorua community. So we’re committed to working closely with our iwi partners to do whatever we can together to protect the river for our children and our grandchildren.”   

The agreements require the trust and the councils to work together on a number of matters that affect the water quality of the upper river and surrounding land. These include monitoring and enforcement, planning issues, applications for resource consents, and Maori customary activities.

Joint committees had previously been set up to develop the agreements. The TARIT-RDC joint committee was led by Mr Winters and Mr Pikia and other members of the committee were Eugene Berryman-Kamp and Wally Lee for the trust and councillors Maureen Waaka and Karen Hunt for RDC.  The TARIT-Waikato Regional Council joint committee was led by Mr Buckley and Mr Pikia and other members of the committee were Rawiri Te Whare, Eugene Berryman-Kamp and Wally Lee for the trust and councillors Simon Friar, Laurie Burdett and Norm Barker for the regional council. 

 [ENDS] 

Background Information

·         The three Te Arawa iwi groups (Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa, Ngati Kea Ngati Tuara and Tuhourangi-Ngati Wahiao) represented by the Trust were given legal recognition of their relationship with the upper Waikato River in 2012 when the Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi Waikato River Act was passed. That law was designed to ensure iwi were involved in the restoration and protection of the river.

·         The area of interest begins at the bottom of the Huka Falls, north of Taupo, through to Pohaturoa near Atiamuri, and also waterways that flow into the river such as the Pokaitu, Whirinaki and Waiotapu.

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For more information:  

  • Roger Pikia (TARIT chairman) – 027 555 1633. 
  •  Kevin Winters (Rotorua Mayor) – 07 348 4199 or mobile 027 558 9947  
  •  Stephen Ward (Waikato Regional Council, senior media advisor) – 07 859 0782 or mobile 021 756 310 

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