May 6, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Tribunal report confirms iwi ownership of Lake Waikaremoana and paves the way for redress

2 min read

We are pleased for the claimants that eight years after the hearing began on Lake Waikaremoana they have some closure, says Maori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell.

P1210722-P1210729Most importantly, the report confirms freshwater is a taonga and identifies the ownership rights of Tuhoe, Ngati Ruapani, Ngati Kahungunu, and Ngai Tamaterangi to the lake bed.

The 370 page report chronicles the iwis relationship with the lake and successive breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi by the Crown. Those breaches include the unilateral lowering of the lake in 1946 without consultation or compensation which has caused irreparable damage to the lake and the Crowns failure to provide legal recognition of the tribes ownership of the lake.

Since 1971, two Maori trust boards have administered the lake and the Crown has paid to use it. However, in another breach of the Treaty, the Crown refused to pay for the use of the lake for hydroelectricity.

We are saddened by the historic erosion of Maori property rights and the persistent failure of the Crown to recognise Maori ownership of the lake which has had huge social and economic impacts on the claimants , says Maori Party Co-leader Marama Fox.

However the comprehensive report does provide a good basis for iwi to negotiate a durable settlement, says Mrs Fox.

The Tuhoe settlement made earlier this year excluded all Tuhoe interests in Lake Waikaremoana. Other affected iwi including Ngati Kahungunu and Ng?ti Ruapani have yet to negotiate their Treaty settlements with the Crown.

I look forward to continuing to support these iwi to reassert their rangatiratanga over Lake Waikaremoana, says Mr Flavell, Waiariki MP.

I know there are ongoing complications with the use rights to the lake particularly given the sale of Genesis Energy shares to the public earlier this year which the Maori Party opposed. However, Im sure with goodwill on all sides, a just and enduring settlement can be reached.

For a copy of the Waitangi Tribunal report on Lake Waikaremoana, go online to




Media contact:Te Ururoa Flavell Hinerangi Barr 021 943 070
Marama Fox 027 516 1979


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