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Mt Maunganui Borough Reclamation & Empowering Act Repeal

Mount Maunganui Borough Reclamation And Empowering Act Repeal Bill
Third Reading
Wednesday 7 November 2012; 4pm

Te Ururoa Flavell, MP for Waiariki

I move, That the Mount Maunganui Borough Reclamation and Empowering Act Repeal Bill be now read a third time.

I want to firstly acknowledge the members around this House who supported the recommendation at the Business Committee that the Mount Maunganui Borough Reclamation and Empowering Act Repeal Bill does not require consideration in Committee and that it be set down for third reading, as permissible under Standing Order 295. Coming to that decision is in itself an important endorsement of the power of community ownership.

I want to also point out that from whoa to go this process has been wrapped up in five months, which is pretty commendable, and I acknowledge the outstanding done by the Local Government and Environment Committee in this regard. I thank them very much.

This is a bill that represents a significant collaboration between Tauranga City Council, working with the relevant iwi to have land that was confiscated returned back to the people, and, of course, I refer in this case to Ngā Potiki, who are presented in the gallery this afternoon. I want to also acknowledge those who have not been able to come down and who may well be listening back home in Tauranga Moana .

This legislation will pass through the House today as a significant milestone for the people of Tauranga Moana and particularly Ngā Potiki, who have borne the insult and the offence of actions taken forty years ago. The history we have heard during the passage of this bill takes us back to 1975, when the Mount Maunganui Borough Reclamation and Empowering Act allowed the Bay of Plenty Harbour Board the authority to transfer authority for part of the seabed of the Mount Maunganui Borough Council, who then used it for sewerage and other purposes.

I have also said in the House that local leaders of Tauranga Moana at the time were very vocal in their protest and made their concerns very, very apparent. Through the submission of Ngā Potiki-a-Tamapāhore Trust we learnt about the close relationship that Ngā Potiki to Te Tahuna o Rangataua also known as the Rangataua Estuary. This relationship is expressed through the many rich pepeha, whakatauāki, and waiata of the people of the land, the mana whenua, and is demonstrated by the location of the marae in close proximity to the shoreline.

It is now up to this House to see that this bill is passed into law, giving mana and kaitiaki back to mana whenua, and influencing greater power-sharing with Māori.

I want to mention the insight and initiative of Ngā Potiki-a-Tamapāhore Trust , who entered into the process with two key platforms as a part of their long-term and local vision. They are committed to doing what they can to support strong, healthy, and sustainable Māori communities, and, secondly, to participate in regional workforce development plan with a view to improving Māori economic status.

That vision overlaps with the vision of the Tauranga City Council, as sighted in their whakatauāki: rapua te huarahi whānui hei ara whakapiri ii ngā iwi e rua i te whakaaro kotahi. Seek the broad highway that will unite the two peoples towards a common goal.

I have to say that the dealings between some Tauranga iwi and the Tauranga District Council have not necessarily always been of a positive flavour, but this is a sign that the times are moving to change.

And indeed the moulding of the two visions is an important sign of that. It is important to note that legislative provisions for Māori involvement at local government level exist to a certain extent, yet the reality of how local authorities carry out the implicit balancing act required, say, by the resource management system indicates that legislative provision is not in and of itself a sufficient mechanism to protect Māori interests.

It needs commitment and it needs common will and that is what we are seeing with this particular use for this particular bill—a unique collaboration between the Tauranga City Council and Ngā Pōtiki-a-Tamapāhore Trust. This bill is the embodiment of that relationship.

I want to just contextualise this bill in the Tauranga Moana Report 1886-2006, a report on the post-raupatu plans published by the Waitangi Tribunal in 2010. In that report it says: “The general provisions of the RMA are Treaty compliant. The sting is in the details. Kaitiakitanga, for example, can be narrowed to those resources where the two cultures have a common mind. Relationships to wāhi tapu can be weighed up against other matters and set aside. The principles of the Treaty can be taken into account and then outweighed by other criteria.”

I think what the Waitangi Tribunal has alluded to is that local government must do what it can to maximise participation and engagement of relevant Māori groups and representatives. A clear policy agenda on the way of Māori who may be collectivised as, I suppose, iwi, hapū, whānau, or mana whenua from pre-planning through to the planning and implementation phases of the system is absolutely essential.

The Rena disaster taught us a number of lessons: there is a certain resilience, I believe, in Aotearoa when our lands are threatened by disaster. People come together for a common cause and Māori played an important part in the clean-up and recovery of communities following this disaster and that is a natural reaction because of the close relationship that we have with Papatūānuku and Tangaroa.

Within the rohe of Tauranga Moana we learnt particularly that having mana whenua involved in decision making is a major plus, as we have the resources, the know-how, the people power, to make a significant contribution. But it was at the decision-making level that it really counted.

I am very pleased in this regard to be sponsoring this bill because I really do believe it is demonstrating an effective example of collaboration, as it is worked at the local authority level and we can learn a lot of lessons from that. The Māori Party believes that any growth in the formal recognition of iwi in local decision-making has come about as a result of those particular Māori groups involved having the necessary capability and capacities to maximise their own involvement at that strategic level.

So we are mindful that much work and collaboration is needed to implement the required changes for improved Māori involvement at local government. If the foundations are laid properly, the construction that stands upon these foundations will forever remain stronger and for much longer. In the context of our country’s natural resources, it is imperative that we do work together now to ensure the health and wealth of those resources into the future.

The Mount Manganui Borough Reclamation and Empowering Act Repeal Bill is establishing a new environment for the relationship based on mutual respect. We are hopeful that in establishing a new legal understanding, this bill will help to strengthen the relationships between Tauranga City Council and Ngā Pōtiki.

It also represents the vindication of the many Ngā Pōtiki kaumātua who upheld protection of the ancestral landscape and cultural values, including the late Paraone Rēweti, MP for Eastern Māori and Wiremu Ōhia, chair of the Tauranga Māori Executive.

Finally for Ngā Pōtiki, the reclamation of the foreshore and seabed, the existence of the oxidation ponds and the discharge of effluent all represents a failure by the Crown to protect Ngā Pōtiki and the ancestral heritage. In doing so, it protects the pātaka kai, it preserves ancient Ngā Pōtiki urupā, and it upholds the sacred respect the people uphold in their wāhi tapu. For all of these reasons the Māori Party is proud to support the Mount Maunganui Borough Reclamation and Empowering Act Repeal Bill.

Can I thank, as I stand, all of those from the Tauranga City Council who led this initiative of Ngā Pōtiki people, as I say some of whom are in the gallery today. I could mention names, but I fear that I may miss people out who worked behind the scenes and may not have their names read out. Some are, however, as I say, in the gallery and I thank them for being here today, coming down from Tauranga Moana. It has been indeed an honour to usher this bill through the House and the Māori Party commends this bill for its passing. Kia ora tātou.


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