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Key Parties Create Waikato River Partnership

Media Release, 8 July 2003

Key Parties Create Waikato River Partnership

Waikato-Tainui and Mighty River Power, two of the largest stakeholders in the welfare of the Waikato River, have signed a partnership agreement outlining how they will work together to contribute to the future wellbeing of the river.

Waikato-Tainui regard the Waikato as their ancestral river while most of Mighty River Power's current electricity generation comes from the eight dams and nine stations along the Waikato.

Last night (Monday, July 7) the two organisations signed an agreement outlining the way they would work together to ensure the preservation and enhancement of the river and its surrounds for future generations.

"We were very pleased to enter a partnership that recognises the ancestral role the river holds for Waikato-Tainui and acknowledges the contribution the river makes to our spiritual and temporal health," says Waikato Raupatu Trust chairman Kingi Porima.

"Mighty River Power has recognised that as tangata whenua we exercise mana whakahaere over the region and we believe the presence of the dams has had an impact on our relationship with the river. However, we also acknowledge that the dams and their operations have produced positive community benefits."

Mighty River Power Chairman, Rob Challinor says the agreement with Waikato-Tainui shows the iwi have a clear vision and commitment to the future of the river as well as a dedication to community leadership in the Waikato.

"It has been a pleasure working with Waikato-Tainui. Both of our organisations share a strong commitment to the preservation of the river, as well as a desire to make a constructive contribution to the Waikato community. The signing of this agreement is a tangible demonstration of that commitment, with the ultimate beneficiary being the Waikato River."

The partnership focuses on several initiatives, including the following:

* Enabling Waikato-Tainui to realise, in practical terms, their interest in managing the river

* Establishing river-related enhancement projects, remedial works and scientific studies in and around the Waikato River and adjacent locations

* Undertaking activities and promoting projects to improve the education, employment opportunities, health and well-being of the people of Waikato-Tainui

* Enhancing the cultural relationships that are fundamental in Waikato-Tainui's relationship with the Waikato River

Waikato-Tainui and Mighty River Power have established a Partnership Committee, which will carry out the various initiatives outlined in the deed of memorandum.


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