Govt Report Welcome Step towards Iwi Rights & Interests
Media Release – 11th March 2013
“Government Report – Welcome Step towards Iwi Rights & Interests”
“Appropriately recognising and providing for iwi rights and interests in freshwater is critical to developing a durable and sustainable water management regime”, the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group said today. The Group welcomed the release of the Government’s Freshwater Reform 2013 and Beyond paper.
“Freshwater is one of New Zealand’s most important resources and how we manage, use, and protect this resource is of critical importance to all New Zealanders,” Sir Tumu Te Heuheu said on behalf of the Group.
The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group has been actively engaged in discussing these important issues for several years, both directly with the government and with wider stakeholders, including the Land and Water Forum. The release of the Government’s consultation paper provides an opportunity to engage a wider audience in this important discussion.
There are significant challenges for fresh water in this country as both the quality and quantity of this resource comes under increasing pressure from use and development. The way forward needs to balance appropriate sustainable development and economic growth with inherent values of a healthy environment, protection of our taonga and our obligations to future generations. This will only be achieved with a widespread understanding of the challenges and potential solutions.
‘Appropriately recognising and providing for iwi rights and interests in freshwater’ is also critical to developing a durable and sustainable water management regime that provides the certainty required for on-going investment in the economy. In this respect, the consultation paper is but a starting point and much more focused work is required throughout the reform process to satisfactorily address the issue of iwi rights and interests.
Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated Chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana says, “As Chair of the iwi and the Māori Development panel, one of the key issues is seeking clarity around Māori rights to natural resources such as fresh water.”
“There are two pathways that Māori can take. The current one is through the Resource Management Act normally applying a handbrake to development around water and water resources such as the proposed Ruataniwha Dam or there’s an economic development pathway that recognises Māori interest rights in the resources that would lead to iwi and hapu investment in the future. Both pathways will reflect the kaitiakitanga of Papatuanuku and the Mauri of the water and the whenua.”
At the recently held Fish Hook Summit, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council representatives and Māori advisors presented the Ruataniwha Dam project. While there is enthusiasm from some hapū about employment prospects, there is concern and scepticism from others around the interests of our environment and the guardianship we must invoke to protect Mauri in these major projects.
The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group will also be convening a series of regional hui and a national hui this year to discuss the freshwater issue as a whole with iwi. The Group firmly believes that on-going discussions at both a national and local level will bring about a greater understanding of the benefits that can be achieved for both our waterways and the nation as a whole in a freshwater framework that appropriately recognises iwi rights and interests alongside the interests of other stakeholders and the wider community.
The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group was formed in 2007 to advance the interests of all iwi in relation to fresh water through direct engagement with the Crown. The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group comprises the leaders of Ngai Tahu, Whanganui, Waikato-Tainui, Te Arawa and Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Raukawa, Ngāti Porou and Ngati Kahungunu and reports regularly to all iwi through the national Iwi Chairs Forum.
Full release with
Hui, Meeting timetable Press_Release_GOVERNMENT_REPORT_WELCOME_STEP_TOWARDS_IWI_RIGHTS_and_INTERESTS_11_March_2013.pdf