Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme will help wellbeing

30 January 2013
Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme will help wellbeing and mauri

A respected Māori leader believes the Ruataniwha Water Storage (RWS) Scheme could have huge potential for Māori in Hawke’s Bay.

Professor Roger Maaka is Dean of the Māori Faculty at EIT. He lives in Takapau and speaks for the four marae in the catchment area of the proposed dam. He has been a member of the RWS Leadership Group for the past two and a half years and continues to work closely with those driving the scheme.

He’s taking a long term view of the scheme; looking to the future at social and economic opportunities for Māori and others in the community; with an equal view to improving the wellbeing or mauri of the Tukituki River.

“Māori have a lot to gain from this scheme, provided the environment and mauri of the river are not damaged, and at this stage the science I’ve seen indicates that both will be enhanced,” says Prof. Maaka.

However he believes the Hawke’s Bay community are yet to fully understand just how much potential there is if the Scheme goes ahead.
He says it took him some time to get his head around the enormity of the scheme and what it can offer Hawke’s Bay and believes the general public are yet to get to that point.

“This scheme is huge. It will touch everybody in Hawke’s Bay. It is more than storing a bit of water and once we get our heads around that we can start to truly understand what this project can offer our communities,” says Prof. Maaka.

He speaks of three underlying principles for successful Māori engagement with the scheme: Recognition, Protection and Participation.

Recognition
Prof. Maaka says it is vital that local Māori and hapū play a key role in the scheme, as tangata whenua in the area of the water storage location.

“This is the largest investment ever in this region and therefore local Māori communities must benefit from the scheme at all levels. We are more than just cultural advisors, we are tangata whenua and therefore need to be integral to the social and economic planning and operations of this project.”

Protection
Prof. Maaka says that for Māori protecting the mauri of the Mākaroro River as well as the Waipawa and along the length of the Tukituki rivers are paramount.

“So far the science has shown while there will be effects from the scheme they can be countered and I am anticipating a considerable improvement overall in the health of the rivers.”

Roger Maaka says the other protection Māori want is an assurance that the benefits from the scheme will be felt locally.

“What’s good for Māori locally is good for the whole community. We don’t want any monopolies to come in and establish just one industry or one type of agriculture. We want a mix of uses. We don’t want one large organisation to come in and take everything over, taking the benefits away from our local communities.”

He says Māori want that protection embedded in the legislation that underpins the whole project.

Participation
Roger Maaka says often Māori are engaged in the latter stages of a project, but with the RWS Scheme they have been involved from early on and want to continue to contribute in all stages of planning and implementation.

“In this project we have been involved from the start and we want this to continue. Ultimately we want to be part of developing the management and governance systems put in place around the scheme.”

Roger Maaka hopes there will be Iwi groups investing in the scheme and some have already shown interest.

“Those Iwi groups with the capital will invest if they feel it is a wise investment and I hope that does happen, but we have no control over that.”

He says that a big part of participation is employment opportunities and he is lobbying for a sizable proportion of the workforce to be Māori – both during construction as well as the post-construction phases.

“We have a very sad level of unemployment, particularly in our younger generation. There is a seasonal nature to the work for Māori in Central Hawke’s Bay and also many of our young people leave the region to seek work elsewhere around the country or overseas.”

He is working with local authorities and EIT to look at the possibility of developing programmes to prepare the local population for the jobs that will be available when construction starts.

“In addition to those construction jobs we want to see our people in trades and professional areas coming out of this scheme. There will be miles of piping to be laid to distribute the water to irrigation sites; we need to train people to provide and sustain these types of new services to the farming community.”

Prof. Maaka says he would like to think Māori will also be among the professionals, such as engineers and accountants, employed on this scheme.

“This could occur through assistance or scholarships to young talented Māori who may still be at high school to encourage them to get qualified and come back and find work on the scheme or the associated industries.”

“I would also like there to be some Māori farmers who take up the opportunities from the additional land once irrigation is made available. I am not sure how that can happen, but I will be asking the Government and other agencies to assist us to work toward this.”

Roger Maaka says while there is still a lot of work to do he sees that the scheme in its entirety has huge potential for Māori in Hawke’s Bay, and the region as a whole.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On Bank Scandals (And Air Crashes)

Last month, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) filed proceedings against Westpac over activities that have some distinct echoes of the Libor scandal. More>>

Budget: Health Funding Must Keep Up With Need

NZNO: “The nursing team has been doing more with less for years. It’s getting to the point that we’re really worried about our colleagues, our patients, our jobs and the level of health care available for people in our country." More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Inventory: Time For The Government To Do The Right Thing

It’s time for the National Government to step up and do the right thing to reduce climate pollution as data shows New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Budget 2016: More Partnership Schools To Open

Seven new schools will join the eight Partnership Schools already open, along with further new schools opening in 2017. “The growth of this policy is a reflection of the high level of interest from educators and community leaders,” Mr Seymour says. More>>

ALSO:

No Correspondence With English: Did Brownlee Make Up Sale Of Navy Ships ‘On The Hoof?’

Having revealed that several Royal New Zealand Navy vessels have not left port in years, New Zealand First is now asking the Minister of Defence to prove he did not come up with the idea of selling HMNZS Taupo and Pukaki until the media asked him. More>>

Housing Plans: Labour- Abolish Auckland Urban Boundary
The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis. More>>
Greens - State House Solution
The Homes Not Cars policy allows Housing New Zealand to retain its dividend and, in addition, would refund its tax, to spend on the emergency building of around 450 new state houses. More>>

ALSO:

Houses And Taxes: Post-Cabinet, Pre-Budget Press Conference

The Prime Minister said that the pre-budget announcements showed that his Government is “investing in a growing economy”. He re-affirmed the National Government’s commitment to lowering personal tax rates but that any such change must fit with the fiscal reality of the time. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news