New Zealand: Officials Ink New Waikato River Agreement

Officials Ink New Waikato River Agreement

Waikato-Tainui has signed a new Waikato River agreement with Waikato Regional Council, formalising an already closely working relationship over river co-management.

The joint management agreement (JMA), signed at the Ferrybank in Hamilton, is a feature of the iwi river co-management arrangements with the Crown under the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act 2010.

The agreement covers the way Waikato-Tainui and the regional council will work together on managing the Waikato River from Karapiro to Te Puaha (Port Waikato). It also covers the Waipa River from Puuniu to Ngaaruawaahia.

Waikato-Tainui has previously signed joint management agreements with Waikato District Council and Hamilton City Council providing for iwi input into their Resource Management Act (RMA) planning documents, resource consents for activities on the surface of rivers, and river monitoring.

Now the latest agreement signed today provides for Waikato-Tainui input into a variety of resource consent applications processed by the regional council. These include applications related to water diversions, dam construction, discharges to the river, water takes, drainage, erecting structures, excavations, and occupation or use of any part of the Waikato River downstream of Karapiro and the relevant section of the Waipa River.

The agreement with the regional council also provides for iwi input into RMA planning and plan effectiveness monitoring, state of the environment and regulatory monitoring, and input into the navigation safety bylaws.

The way that Waikato-Tainui will exercise customary activity rights, such as hari tuupapaku (transport of deceased) on the river, is another feature of the agreement.

Regional council chairman Peter Buckley said that, under co-management principles, the regional council and Waikato-Tainui had already established very solid links and were working well together on river health and protection issues and projects. For example, an agreement was signed in December last year covering the way the regional council and the iwi would work together on such things as waahi tapu (sacred) sites and land that is part of council flood control schemes.

This agreement we’ve signed today further formalises much of the good joint work that has been going on in recent years and provides a very solid basis for moving forward together.

“I’d like to acknowledge the very co-operative and professional approach Waikato-Tainui has brought to the development of this agreement, and also the very collegial way our staff and politicians are working together.”

Waikato-Tainui chairman Tom Roa reiterated the importance of partnership between the council and Waikato-Tainui to restore and enhance the health and well-being of the Waipa and Waikato Rivers.

“We are celebrating the formal establishment of a strong relationship where the fruits of our partnership can be enjoyed by our tamariki, today and into the future.

“The council has demonstrated leadership in their integrated approach to co-management not only with Waikato-Tainui, but with all iwi in the Waikato region. I commend Peter Buckley and the council for their continued support.

“The synchronicity with Matariki and the signing of the JMA is worthy of note. Matariki heralds the passing of the ‘old’ year, with its ups and downs, and all that was of that time is farewelled. The promise of the new year to come, the potential within, is welcomed. By looking up at the primary star cluster of Te Tauihu (the prow) and its fellow constellation Te Ra o Tainui, one can gaze upward and onward – mauri ora.”


Press Release, June 18, 2013