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Progress on strategy for Waikato River

Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

20 June 2008 Media Statement

Progress on strategy for Waikato River

The Guardians Establishment Committee (GEC) met today to present their final Vision and Strategy for restoring and protecting the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River to the Crown and Waikato-Tainui.

The co-negotiators of the Waikato River claim, Lady Raiha Mahuta, Tukoroirangi Morgan and Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen, attended the meeting to receive the Vision and Strategy for consideration and to congratulate the Committee on its achievement.

The GEC was launched in March 2008 with the task of developing a Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River, which is to be given effect through Waikato-Tainui’s settlement.

The Crown and Waikato-Tainui have indicated their broad support for the content of the Vision and Strategy. The document will now be considered in detail during negotiations to determine how it can be implemented through Waikato-Tainui’s Deed of Settlement.

The Agreement in Principle stated that the Vision and Strategy would have the highest level of recognition possible, and options for legislative recognition are now being considered. Waikato-Tainui’s Deed of Settlement will also create entities to monitor and facilitate the implementation of the Vision and Strategy at an operational level.

Following publication of the draft Vision and Strategy in early May, the GEC has received and heard a large number of submissions reflecting the regional interest in the health and wellbeing of the River. The GEC made a number of changes to the final Vision and Strategy that reflect these submissions. A high degree of public support for the objective of the Vision and Strategy and the restoration of the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River was a common theme in submissions.

The Crown and Waikato-Tainui are grateful for the dedication and commitment shown by the members of the GEC and their Secretariat over the last months in developing the Vision and Strategy, and wholeheartedly congratulate them on this accomplishment.


The Crown and Waikato-Tainui signed an Agreement in Principle in March 2008 for the settlement of the historical claims of Waikato-Tainui in relation to the Waikato River. The AIP focuses on ways in which the health and wellbeing of the river can be restored.
Implementation of the agreement includes the creation of the Guardians of the Waikato River which will be responsible for the vision and strategy to lead the restoration of the river. The AIP provided for the formation of the Guardians Establishment Committee to begin work on a vision and strategy.


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