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Maori Party Candiate Rahui Papa says Water is a Taonga

He Taonga te Wai - Water is a taonga

Water is so vitally important to all of our communities. Water is a taonga. We cannot live without it. Yet too many communities have had to deal with water contamination, and there is still no solution on the horizon for dealing with unfair distribution and allocation of water. In recent years, towns in Hauraki and in Waikato have been on boil water notice. Our farmers have faced consecutive summers of drought. Marae in Hauraki-Waikato are having to buy water. We need our water. And we need it to be drinkable. New Zealand really hasn’t come to grips with the value of healthy water. It’s not just a nice thing to have. Healthy water is valuable to our tourism industry and to food exporters too.

The problem is that water is regarded as ‘free’ and available to any user; for commercial or individual use. And by far the most contentious issue at present is the ongoing conflict regarding permits for water-bottling. Something is not right when it costs approximately 80c per litre to bottle and export water and the sale price is around $3.50 per litre. New Zealand households pay $1.70 per litre for access to water in their homes.

All permits for water bottling and export should be put on hold until this anomaly and the wider issue of Māori rights and interests have been addressed.

A framework is urgently needed to address the growing concerns about water-bottling companies and their insatiable demand to take the freshest of our waters and ship it overseas. At the moment the Te Waihou Puna in the South Waikato is in the firing line, but this is an issue that is affecting all iwi, and all New Zealanders. The latest furore has arisen over an application by Pure Blue Springs Limited to take 6.9 million litres of water from Putaruru's Blue Spring in the Waihou River for export. If we keep shipping our water offshore, how do we protect the rights of future generations to fresh, clean, drinking water?

It has long been said that those using water for commercial purposes should be charged, and the funds raised be put back into restoration and protection measures to ensure the wellbeing of our waterways. Water companies should pay to reduce the heavy burden of water rates to our homes where we expect to have access to an essential element of life. It is time for action. Through our Treaty settlements we have led the way in designing holistic and long-term approaches to restoring and protecting

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Ngā Manu Kōrero – Striving for excellence across languages

Rahui Papa, Māori Party Candidate for Hauraki-Waikato has nothing but praise for all of the young people who will take the stage at the Regional Ngā Manu Kōrero speech competitions for Tainui Waka Secondary Schools to be held this this week in Tokoroa, the town where he grew up. Rahui is well-known as an orator and a recognised authority on Waikato reo, tikanga, and tribal history. Responding to the suggestion that the competitions should be a te reo Māori only event, Rahui takes the view that while the Ngā Manu Kōrero speech competitions are absolutely an excellent platform for rangatahi to develop their skills and confidence in te reo Maōri, they are also an important opportunity for them to sharpen their English speaking skills:

‘It is critical that our rangatahi strive for excellence in both English and Māori. Indeed across all languages.’

Rahui’s daughter, Tangirau Papa, competed in both te reo Māori and English at last year’s National Ngā Manu Kōrero speech competitions held in Whangarei. She won the Rāwhiti Ihaka Trophy (junior section for te reo Māori) and placed third in the junior English section. She will be taking the stage once again this year to compete in the senior Māori competition for Te Wharekura o Ngāti Maniapoto.

Rahui has also mentored students from Cambridge High School and Hamilton Boys’ High School who will be competing on Friday. He gives his time to mentor rangatahi on speech-making based on his view that:

Our job as is to see that the next generation have a better platform than the one we inherited so that they can do more. There’s got to be that succession planning and that platform foundation for our next generations.


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