May 12, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

The need for a stronger Te Arawa voice in Council #ArawaPartnership

4 min read


(by Greg Allen)

Kai te tautoko ahau i te tono tu hourua a Te Arawa/I support the Te Arawa Partnership model.  I support the Te Arawa partnership model because it will allow Te Arawa a stronger voice in the decision making of our city and region.

Te Arawa (as we all should know) have generously gifted and contributed so much to this beautiful city and region of ours. The obvious include our lakes, our rivers, our forests, our thermal parks (all named by our tupuna). All these sites, we are able to access at no charge.

In our city, there are obvious street names, named after our tupuna who lived on the land (Te Pukuatua, Pukaki, Rangiuru to name a few). The breach of the Fenton Agreement was hugely detrimental to Te Arawa, and in particular Ngati Whakaue. Without this breach, I think Ngati Whakaue would be by far the biggest rate payer in the region.

As I said in my introduction, I am a trustee of my marae Te Kuirau, at Ohinemutu.

We have a main stormwater drain that was put there by council. There is no paper work to suggest any consent was given, although I’m guessing there could have been a ‘gentleman agreement’.

Recently we have been given a resource consent as we are wanting to develop our property which includes building over the existing storm water drain (it services many households in the area). The most annoying thing about the resource consent is that council expect the marae to relocate the storm water and pay for all costs.

I believe that a partnership between council and iwi would improve understanding and contribute towards efficient development of Maori resources and assets.

More recently, at a Te Arawa sports event, council wanted to charge descendents of the original land owners who gifted the land a hireage fee. A partnership I believe will enhance the culture of the council and therefore improve council systems and processes.

It is also sad to hear local groups making statement like ‘no free rides onto council’ …it’s actually ironic that the Ngati Whakaue Education Endowment Trust, on which I am a trustee (using their own private funds) provide a ‘free bus service’ to the museum for all schools in Rotorua …so yes, Ngati Whakaue is providing a free ride for our community.

[quote_center]This same Trust over the past 20 years has injected over $10 million dollars into our local schools to support their Numeracy and Literacy programmes, and do the participants have to be of Ngati Whakaue descent?[/quote_center]

Not at all… so we are actually paying twice, first in our taxes, and second through privately subsidising each school in our City. I totally reject any claim what we are self interested.

Let us not forget who gifted the land for many of our schools. So it does grind me when I hear statements that Te Arawa are not contributing, that we are bludgers, that we expect undeserved special treatment.

Some are worried about the Partnership model, that it is too expensive to operate. My response to rate payers not wanting to fit the bill? …please remember that Te Arawa are part of this community too and pay a significant proportion of rates.

[quote_center]Some others claim that a minority group should not be given special privileges. There is no need to be fearful, these are not special privileges and a partnership is a good thing![/quote_center]

In so far as Te Arawa being labelled a minority group? This is hugely insulting to me, however, the education required to enlighten ignorant and ill informed people is not going to happen overnight. But they are welcome to visit my marae and I am willing to assist them on their journey to understanding Te Arawatanga.

[quote_center]The Te Arawa partnership model is a positive Kaupapa that will drive our community forward.[/quote_center]

That we as a community are not in fear, or resistant to learning new things, that we are proud of our shared history, excited to welcome visitors from near and afar. Confident in sharing our Maori culture, and acknowledging the hard work of ALL our ancestors. That our tamariki and children are proud to share their story about who they are and where they are from, especially when heading overseas as ambassadors of our city and country.

To the Councillors, I share with you a quote from Sir James Henare – Kua tawhiti ke, to haerenga mai, kia kore e haere tonu. He tino nui rawa ou mahi, kia kore e mahi nui tonu – you have come too far, not to go further. You have done too much, not to do more.

To conclude, these are the words of my tupuna Te Roro o Te Rangi that I hold dear; Ruia Taitea, Ruia Taitea, kia tu ko taikaka, ko ahau anake – You, the leaders of our beautiful City, stand tall, be brave as you hold an extremely important key in your hand, and with one twist, you can make this city of ours, an even better place to live.

Tatau, Tatau.

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