Regional | Ōtaki

Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki and council collaborate to preserve river

Hapū based in Wellington are launching a new video campaign which looks at sustainable water quality through mahinga kai.  Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki have partnered with the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) to deliver the initiative.

Today the GWRC and Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki came together at Ōtaki river to collaborate on a new production they hope will highlight the importance of tikanga and water quality in the region.  GWRC Kaitakawaenga Mike Grace says, "The purpose of today for the regional council is looking at how we can preserve the Ōtaki river and the ancient traditions that go with it".

The video will feature ancient mahinga kai practices as well as ancient and modern methods of testing water quality.  It's part of a wider initiative by the council to ensure mana whenua values are invested within resource management plans.

Ngā Hapū representative Mahinarangi Hakaraia says, "We've been working on various things with them that have to do with our awa, the catchment in general, tributaries and other waterways and really looking at how we can enhance our environment through that partnership".

Grace says, "We've met together, we've worked together, we've planned together now we actually have to learn how to do stuff together and that's about taking the values they've put into our plan and saying how can we express our Treaty partnership through our activities?".

It's a collaboration over 20 years in the making after kaumātua from the region first approached the council to be involved in resource management processes. In 2009 GWRC launched its Te Upoko Taiao - Natural Resources Plan committee, made up of six elected councillors and six appointed members representing iwi in the region, to ensure mana whenua an active relationship in local government decision making.

"When we think about the Resource Management Act we think about the relationship of Māori with their culture, their traditions, et cetera.  How do we make that happen?  Because that's about real people doing things in real places.  No more words.  Action".

It's action hapū say will allow them to better preserve tikanga as well as care for their awa in the future.