Iwi and councils at the top of the South Island have strengthened their strong relationships, agreeing to work more closely across the region.
The chairs of the eight iwi, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Tama ki Te Waipounamu, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Rangitāne o Wairau, and Te Ātiawa o te Waka-a-Māui and the mayors of Marlbrough, Tasman and Nelson signed the Together Te Tauihu agreement in Nelson.
The agreement has strong support from the three councils, with both Tasman and Nelson council]s voting unanimously in support.
Te Waka-a-Māui Iwi Chairs Forum chair Olivia Hall, said the milestone agreement had the potential to unlock the region’s future.
“This is a significant milestone, for all of Te Tauihu, for all of our communities and it is important to firstly acknowledge the work of many across the region over many years to establish more meaningful relationships, strengthen ties and achieve better outcomes.
“It shows we’re all here to talk, we’re here to participate, we don’t always have to agree, but we are here for the long haul for the betterment of all. It reminds us of our obligations and our opportunities.”
Weaving aspirations together
Hall said the agreement recognised the important and unique roles that iwi and councils play in the cultural, social, environmental and economic wellbeing of Te Tauihu and provided a framework to weave the aspirations of all parties more closely together so Te Tauihu was strengthened as a region.
Tasman mayor Tim King welcomed the agreement and said the entire top of the south community would benefit from the stronger relationships this partnership identified and supported.
He said the three councils had worked alongside the eight iwi for many years.
“This agreement now provides an agreed framework for our continuing work together. Fundamentally, the agreement is about ensuring we keep taking steps forward and building on the relationship and acknowledging that, yes, we are stronger together.”
Together Te Tauihu sets out various partnership principles as well as review mechanisms. Iwi chairs and mayors are expected to meet in person in early 2024 to establish priority outcomes for the coming year.