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Te Arawa and Raukawa Welcome Progress

Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa and Raukawa Trust Board.

Thursday September 4, 2008

Te Arawa and Raukawa Welcome Progress

Te Arawa and Raukawa today welcomed progress in negotiations to return iwi as kaitiaki (guardians) of the upper Waikato River.

The acknowledgement followed the signing today of an agreement between Te Arawa and Raukawa and the Crown, returning the iwi to positions of influence over the Waikato River.

Iwi leaders said today's agreement was driven by a clear focus - the restoration, and protection of the health and well-being of the Waikato River.

The iwi have been represented in negotiations with the Crown by Te Pumautanga o te Arawa and the Raukawa Trust Board.

Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa, chief negotiator, Rawiri Te Whare said today's agreement was a significant milestone for all people touched by the Waikato River.

"For more than 140 years iwi have been excluded from real influence over the Waikato river, and in that time, the river's health has deteriorated.
"Today's agreement adds real momentum to reversing this. We look forward to returning the health and well-being of the river as the priority in decisions that impact on it."

Mr Te Whare said the agreement allowed for true partnership between iwi and the Crown through the co-management of the Waikato river.

"The agreement acknowledges the partnership between iwi and the Crown, allowing
iwi to join environmental agencies to reverse 140 years of assault on the river's mauri - its lifeblood. "

The agreement involves co-management of the upper Waikato River from Huka Falls to Karapiro.

Raukawa Trust chairman George Rangitutia, said the agreement marked significant progress for iwi, who had laboured for generations to return to a position of real influence in protecting the Waikato River.

"Many of our tupuna (ancestors) have laboured to get us where we are today, it is important to acknowledge those that have carried this mahi to this point.
"This is a day of significance for all New Zealanders, and one which progresses the restoration and protection of the river so it remains a vibrant taonga for all."

ENDS

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