Mana Whakahono signing signals new dawn
Taupō District Council and Ngāti Turangitukua are moving forward together into a new future for the Tūrangi township and its surrounds after signing a historic Mana Whakahono ā Rohe agreement on Saturday afternoon.
Ngāti Tūrangitukua is the Ngāti Tūwharetoa hapū that holds mana whenua over Tūrangi township and its surrounds and includes its post-settlement entity, the Ngāti Turangitukua Charitable Trust. The hapū is a major landowner in Tūrangi and much of the town’s community amenities and three waters infrastructure is located on reserves they own.
The signing was held at a formal powhiri hosted by Ngāti Turangitukua at Hirangi Marae in Tūrangi, attended by Ngāti Turangitukua hapū, Taupō District Council elected members and staff, Tūrangi-Tongariro Community Board members and Ngāti Tūwharetoa Ariki Tā Tumu Te Heuheu.
Both parties thanked the other for having the patience and fortitude to work through the three years of negotiations that preceded the Mana Whakahono agreement and looked towards the future.
Ngāti Turangitukua Māori Committee chair Hine Mohi said the signing marked a significant milestone but added that co-governance was only the beginning of a journey of collaboration, inclusion, equity and justice.
Ms Mohi said it is vital that the hapū participates in decision-making that affects the land, environment and wellbeing of its people. In signing this document Ngāti Turangitukua demonstrates that the hapū looks forward to an environment of cooperation and commitment, she said.
Taupō District Mayor David Trewavas agreed, saying that the occasion represented the end of one journey and the start of another and appropriately came just as Matariki, the Māori New Year, was about to begin.
“I am glad to lead a council that’s helping to redress some of the pain you have all received and that’s coming together here to create a brighter future for Tūrangi,” Mr Trewavas said. “We have an opportunity to be a shining example to the rest of the nation, an opportunity to show the benefits that come from co-governance, to show that it’s not something to be scared of but something to be embraced.”
Council chief executive Gareth Green thanked Ngāti Turangitukua’s lead negotiator Tina Porou for her tenacity, the hapū for its aroha and patience and the Tūrangi-Tongariro Community Board for its support.
“Hopefully with this signing of the agreement we can sit at the table together and make the most of the best things for this town…I think this gives a real opportunity to move the town forward.”
Ngāti Turangitukua lead negotiator Tina Porou said the journey towards the Mana Whakahono had been tough and gave her thanks to the hapū and the council.
“We’ve been trying things that have never been done before with communities that have always done something the same way and where sharing power means giving up something.
“This is the opportunity to create again a platform that says: ‘those in Tūrangi, we decide what’s right for us’.”
Ms Porou also paid tribute to the Tūrangi-Tongariro Community Board which had supported the Mana Whakahono throughout though it meant the eventual disestablishment of the board for the new co-governance committee. The community board will be disestablished at the end of the current triennium in October.
The Mana Whakahono covers Resource Management Act [RMA], Local Government Act and Reserve Act matters and was agreed between the parties after extensive discussion and negotiation. It will be implemented by a co-governance committee equally made up of Ngāti Tūrangitukua and council appointees.
A Mana Whakahono ā Rohe is a tool provided for by the RMA designed to enable tangata whenua and local authorities to discuss and record how they will work together on resource management matters, including joint decision making. The new Mana Whakahono agreement embeds this into a wider collaborative framework aimed at establishing a genuine equitable partnership.