Rakeipoho Taiaroa, TMTB chief ExecutiveAfter a three-year Covid-19-induced hiatus, Te Wai Māori Trust convened its annual conference in Taupō-nui-a-Tia. Ngāti Tūwharetoa Fisheries Charitable Trust co-hosted the conference, bringing the nation’s leading freshwater experts and advocates together to discuss wai Māori, the most important resource in Aotearoa.
Keynote speakers included Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board CEO Rakeipoho Taiaroa, Ngā Kaihautū o te Awa o Waikato Chair Ruby Pitiroi and Kaupapa Māori Environmental Planner Tina Porou.
Rakei Taiaroa gave a presentation on the history of the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board and its role as a kaitiaki of Aotearoa’s largest puna wai Māori, namely Taupō Moana, and its tributaries.
Ruby Pitiroi recounted the tragic day Te Tāheke Hukahuka (Huka Falls) turned brown. The hapū with the support of the Trust Board completed a Cultural Impact Assessment and gathered evidence for the subsequent prosecution of Contact Energy Limited.
Ngāti Tūwharetoa Fisheries Charitable Trust General Manager Danny Loughlin said Tūwharetoa played an important role in the formation of Te Wai Māori Trust which was reflected in Rakei Taiaroa’s presentation.
Attendees expressed their concerns about new water laws, in particular the potential effects of the new Three Waters legislation on Te Mana o te Wai. They also felt optimistic about Te Mana o te Wai and the possible benefits it could bring to Māori and the nation as a whole.
The conference convened on 31 August and concluded on 2 September.
About Te Wai Māori and Ngāti Tūwharetoa Fisheries Charitable Trust
Te Wai Māori Trust is a statutory body and a product of the Māori Fisheries Act 2004. Ngāti Tūwharetoa contribution to Te Wai Māori came from the work of our iwi leadership to protect our freshwater interests.
The subsequent negotiations alongside Te Arawa waka meant in 2002, Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board and Ngāti Tūwharetoa Marine Fisheries Committee (now Ngāti Tūwharetoa Fisheries Charitable Trust) signed a Memorandum of Understanding that laid the foundation for the establishment of Te Wai Māori Trust.
About Te Mana o te Wai
Te Mana o te Wai is a legal framework introduced by the Government in 2020. It has two sets of underlying values, which recognise the mana and mauri of wai Māori. It provides a way for Māori and the Crown to work together to protect wai Māori and ensure its life supporting capacity.