May 12, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Waikato-Tainui presence in Otautahi to be scaled back #eqnz #chch #maori

4 min read

Waikato-Tainuis presence on the ground in Otautahi is to be scaled back this week, says Tukoroirangi Morgan, Chair of Te Arataura, the tribes executive board.

I want to pay tribute to the incredible spirit that has been shown by the people of Christchurch and our taurahere in weathering this catastrophe, said Tukoroirangi Morgan.

What we have all seen in this tragedy, whether conscious of it or not, is a dramatic and inspiring display of manaakitanga the practice of caring for all by tangata whenua, taurahere, manuhiri and tauiwi.

If it is during the tough times that you really find out who your friends are, then Waikato-Tainui, and this country are truly blessed.

The support we have been given by Ngaai Tahu, in particular, but also Civil Defence, Red Cross and the Council has been incredible.

The Waikato-Tainui rescue support team was cordinated by Te Arataura board members Tukoroirangi Morgan (chair) and Timi Maipi, operating from Ngaai Tahu land near Lincoln University a superb location with easy access to the worst affected areas, but itself in a safe zone.

The operation has been completely self sufficient thanks to pre-existing networks and contacts that enabled unprecedented access and involvement in the ongoing civil and humanitarian effort that has evolved in the wake of the quake.

We are grateful for the assistance of Ngaai Tahu, Ngaati Haua, Raukawa and Te Arawa. Solid Energy and Genesis Energy and Toll NZ, with its NZ CEO/General Manager, Greg Miller, providing whatever services and equipment we needed, said Timi Maipi.

We have Ngati Raukawa medical and field staff, a contingent of workmen from Ngati Haua, Raukura Hauora o Tainui provided medical teams, as did Te Arawa all supported on site.

A catering crew from Te Puaha o Waikato Marae are providing meals for workers and Hot meals for hundreds of devastated whaanau, said Mr Maipi.

More than 1300 hot meals have been served and delivered. Eight hundred homes have been visited, with the finding that many of the 1200 taurahere were living with Whaanau and/or moved out of the region.

Tukoroirangi Morgan praised the cohesive and coordinated pan-Iwi relief strategy, led by Ngai Tahu.

We have learnt an immense amount from this tragedy; we saw the value of being involved in real time decisionmaking; we identified the regulatory and legislative pathways to faster action; we met key people; observed the operations from top to bottom and learned the linkages between, and hierarchy governing the plethora of government, non-government, and quasi-governmental organisations that have played their roles in running a modern, ongoing relief effort of this scale.

There will be many key learnings from this event. First of all we will be able to paint a stark picture of the scale of this disaster to our people and ensure levels of awareness that will mean our Marae are more prepared in the event of something happening in our own rohe, said Tukoroirangi Morgan.

These things could never have been planned for. We have learned things that could only have been discovered through harrowing experience. We have learned, most importantly, where Maaori entities can assist and complement State responsibilities, the role played by Whaanau, protocols for enhanced integration and delivery, and so on.

The solution lies not in separate infrastructure and command and control, but in successfully plugging in and coordinating complementary services that enable speedy support to all in need, said Mr Morgan.

All Iwi workers have spent long hours in the field. Each day ends with a comprehensive report back during dinner, which normally happens at 7.30pm.

Following these briefings we in turn can quickly brief the right people in the right places, ensuring speedy and appropriate assistance from the appropriate provider.

Mark Solomon and I have had discussions with the Director General of Social Development, Peter Hughes, to ensure WINZ staff in the field are assisting our affected whanau.

We have met with Civil Defence. We will be meeting with the Prime Minister and the Hon Pita Sharples to ensure bureaucratic processes are aligned, not hindering, the work we are doing.

The light at the end of the tunnel is seeing how well resourced, focused and professional Iwi are able to bring their own considerable resources into the equation and ensure a much more comprehensive effort than would have been possible only a few years ago.

We have seen Manaakitanga in action.

Background on Waikato Tainui

Waikato Tainui comprises 33 hapuu, 68 marae and 58,000 tribal members. In 1863 colonial forces crossed the Mangataawhiri River and invaded the Waikato. More than 1.2 million acres was confiscated and the people of Waikato were forced into an exile that lasted 20 years.

In 1995 the first Waikato-Tainui settlement over lands was signed with the Crown. In 2008 the Waikato River Deed of Settlement was signed, with enhanced co-management arrangements finalised in 2009. The completion of the Waikato River Claim will see the tribe having a co-governance role over New Zealands largest river. Negotiations over the tribes remaining outstanding claims including West Coast harbours are expected to commence over the next year.

In 2010 Waikato-Tainui reported a net profit of $18.6 million and revenue growth of 11.5 per cent. Total assets were $644 million. Grants totalling $4.4 million were paid to 1766 individuals and groups.

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