National | Tamati Coffey

Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey visits Waimana

Climate change and water access for marae were some of the key concerns the youth of Waimana conveyed to Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey.

It's his first official visit as a member of parliament to the valley, which has a population of little over 500.

The Waiariki MP had a face to face with his Waimana constituents to hear their concerns.

“One of the things they were talking about was just about having water for the marae," says Coffey, "They were talking about one of the koroua up the road that has to put a pipe in the creek to get some water up to his tank to be able to live his life.”

Marewa Titoko lives further up the valley. She says she's faced difficulties dealing with local authorities regarding water access.

“I don't want to join the town supply because it's costly- the council's bylaws are hard for us to meet” says Titoko.

The local population has been in decline since 2006.

Those left who are lucky enough, either travel out for employment or have work on nearby farms or with forestry crews.

Local Toni Boynton says, “For a lot of our rangatahi, it's just really looking at ways in which they can have jobs so that they can stay in the area without moving away or going into town.”

Coffey hopes to return before the end of the year.