Plans for river a step forward: iwi

A sacred river to iwi, representatives have called on council to make Te Arai River a separate freshwater management unit (FMU).

A sacred river to iwi, representatives have called on council to make Te Arai River a separate freshwater management unit (FMU).

THE Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust has called a proposal to recognise the unique values of Te Arai River a “significant step forward”.

Te Arai is a sacred river for the iwi, and throughout the hearings process on the proposed regional freshwater plan iwi representatives have called on the council to make it a separate freshwater management unit (FMU).

“Te Arai is a water body in its own right, with a distinctive mana and resource availability that are of the utmost importance to the people of Rongowhakaata,” Rongowhakaata’s submission read.

Combining it with other river catchments would exclude values unique to Rongowhakaata, and include inappropriate water quality objectives, policies and standards for the river.

The lower part of the river is also an inanga spawning site and the upper area is a habitat for threatened indigenous flora and fauna.

The council staff report on submissions to the plan supported Rongowhakaata’s suggestion.

“The distinctive ecology, the use of water for both drinking water and for food production and the management of cultural values are all key features of this sub-catchment that make it suitable for a separate FMU.”

During the final hearing this week Rongowhakaata called the decision “a significant step forward, potentially providing for enhanced sustainable management of Te Arai River”.

Water monitoring site

Council staff agreed to add a water monitoring site at Whakatere Road, in addition to Pykes Weir, to be installed over summer 2016/2017.

“Te Arai is a very important area for us,” said Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust’s Jody Wyllie.

Its full name, Te Arai te Uru, relates to a tipua (spiritual guardian) of the same name who guided the arrival of the Takitimu waka from Hawaiki to Aotearoa, along with Ruamano.

Upon the waka’s berth in Turanganui a Kiwa, Te Arai te Uru was released into the waters of Te Arai River.

The mauri of Te Arai River represents the essence that binds the physical and spiritual elements of all things together, generating and upholding all life.

Rongowhakaata want the river’s modern values of recreation, mahinga kai (food gathering) and mauri, recognised in the plan.

“Lately the river colour has improved and my kids have been swimming in the river,” said Mr Wyllie.

Some people fish in the same spot on the river every day and they have an intricate knowledge of the health of the river and how to protect it.

Rongowhakaata requested a participatory framework between the council, hapu and iwi groups to establish FMU values, and the protection and restoration of mauri.

They suggested a “mountain to sea” approach, better incorporating the perspective of the waterbodies’ kaitiaki (guardianship).

The activities above the river, at the headwaters, affected the river below, and any consultation needed to include iwi to the south and forestry.

Debra Bidlake of Federated Farmers said in their submission if the plan was to make Te Arai a seperate FMU they wanted more consultation.

With council staff having made their recommendation it is up to the commission to decide on how the proposal proceeds.

THE Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust has called a proposal to recognise the unique values of Te Arai River a “significant step forward”.

Te Arai is a sacred river for the iwi, and throughout the hearings process on the proposed regional freshwater plan iwi representatives have called on the council to make it a separate freshwater management unit (FMU).

“Te Arai is a water body in its own right, with a distinctive mana and resource availability that are of the utmost importance to the people of Rongowhakaata,” Rongowhakaata’s submission read.

Combining it with other river catchments would exclude values unique to Rongowhakaata, and include inappropriate water quality objectives, policies and standards for the river.

The lower part of the river is also an inanga spawning site and the upper area is a habitat for threatened indigenous flora and fauna.

The council staff report on submissions to the plan supported Rongowhakaata’s suggestion.

“The distinctive ecology, the use of water for both drinking water and for food production and the management of cultural values are all key features of this sub-catchment that make it suitable for a separate FMU.”

During the final hearing this week Rongowhakaata called the decision “a significant step forward, potentially providing for enhanced sustainable management of Te Arai River”.

Water monitoring site

Council staff agreed to add a water monitoring site at Whakatere Road, in addition to Pykes Weir, to be installed over summer 2016/2017.

“Te Arai is a very important area for us,” said Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust’s Jody Wyllie.

Its full name, Te Arai te Uru, relates to a tipua (spiritual guardian) of the same name who guided the arrival of the Takitimu waka from Hawaiki to Aotearoa, along with Ruamano.

Upon the waka’s berth in Turanganui a Kiwa, Te Arai te Uru was released into the waters of Te Arai River.

The mauri of Te Arai River represents the essence that binds the physical and spiritual elements of all things together, generating and upholding all life.

Rongowhakaata want the river’s modern values of recreation, mahinga kai (food gathering) and mauri, recognised in the plan.

“Lately the river colour has improved and my kids have been swimming in the river,” said Mr Wyllie.

Some people fish in the same spot on the river every day and they have an intricate knowledge of the health of the river and how to protect it.

Rongowhakaata requested a participatory framework between the council, hapu and iwi groups to establish FMU values, and the protection and restoration of mauri.

They suggested a “mountain to sea” approach, better incorporating the perspective of the waterbodies’ kaitiaki (guardianship).

The activities above the river, at the headwaters, affected the river below, and any consultation needed to include iwi to the south and forestry.

Debra Bidlake of Federated Farmers said in their submission if the plan was to make Te Arai a seperate FMU they wanted more consultation.

With council staff having made their recommendation it is up to the commission to decide on how the proposal proceeds.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Are you happy with the council decision this week to allocate $400,000 to refurbishing the Peel Street toilets and adding a dedicated night-time facility alongside the historic building?
    See also: