3rd Anniversary | Whakaari Memorial

3rd Anniversary | Whakaari Memorial

December 9 marks the third anniversary of the Whakaari tragedy in which 22 people lost their lives and many more were injured. As this day approaches, we remember with love those that were lost and pray for those that survived.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa will join with others in our community to pay tribute to the victims in remembering them at two events on December 9.

The first will be a dawn ceremony commencing at 5am at the Te Hau Tutua memorial. The second commemoration will take place at Te Mānuka Tūatahi marae at 12.30pm starting with a powhiri and light refreshments at 1pm.

At approximately 1.45 guests will be welcomed to join us in the wharenui and a minute’s silence will be observed at 2.11pm. This event is expected to close around 3pm. Both of these events are open to the public.


For more information, please contact Bianca Ruakere on 021 453 189.

MEDIA RELEASE: Opihi Whanaungakore – Hearing Adjourned

Opihi Whanaungakore – hearing adjourned to allow more time for Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, the Opihi Whanaungakore Trustees and Ngāi Taiwhakaea to protect the entirety of the Site


An adjournment has been granted by the Environment Court to postpone the hearing that was due to take place next week on 5th – 7th of December 2022 to appeal the granting of an archaeological authority to MMS GP Ltd (the Developer) to develop a residential complex, being a retirement village at 77 Bunyan road.


The adjournment, sought by the Developer, is to allow further time for Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, the Opihi Whanaungakore Trustees and Ngāi Taiwhakaea to engage in discussions with the Developer to resolve the matter without the need for further litigation.


Any resolution would need to be one that addresses the significant concerns that have been raised around the impact of the development on the sacred burial grounds of Opihi Whanaungakore. Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Taiwhakaea and the Opihi Whanaungakore Trustees are united that any resolution must protect the entirety of the proposed development Site.


Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Taiwhakaea and the Opihi Whanaungakore Trustees acknowledge those kaitiaki and descendants of Awanuiārangi, in particular te hunga rangatahi o Ngāti Awa, who put the call out and had intended to peacefully protest at the hearing. Your voice has been heard around the motu, and the world, and has assisted in providing this space for us to have further discussions and attempt to protect the entirety of the Site for future generations.


Te Kākahoroa tū taratahi
ka whati i te hau,
Te Kākahoroa tū pāhekoheko
e kore e whati


The Toetoe that stands in isolation
will be destroyed by the elements with ease,
however, the Toetoe that grows in mass
will with-stand the winds destructive forces.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa express support for Waitangi Tribunal ruling on Motiti Island

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa express support for Waitangi Tribunal ruling on Motiti Island


Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa (Ngāti Awa) are delighted with the findings of a Waitangi Tribunal report released this week, that recognises that Te Patuwai and Te Whānau a Tauwhao aretangata whenua of Motiti Island and that Te Patuwai affiliates to Ngāti Awa.

Ngāti Awa have supported the Te Patuwai Tribal Committee in a dispute over which group is the rightful and legal mana whenua of Motiti Island. The dispute was lodged with the Waitangi Tribunal in 2018.

Speaking on the report Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Tumuaki (Chairman) Joe Harawira said:

“The report acknowledges the strong links through whakapapa and occupation that Te Patuwai and Te Whānau a Tauwhao have to Motiti.
“As the rightful stewards of the island we offer our support to them should they need our help in decisions about the future of the island.”

We remember and acknowledge the unwavering contributions of Meremaihi Williams and PutiKoopu, we mourn their loss.


For more information please contact Bianca Ruakere on 021 453 189.

To read the full report please refer to the Waitangi Tribunal website.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa pays tribute to Sir Wira Gardiner

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa pays tribute to Sir Wira Gardiner


Today we pay tribute to our whānaunga Ta Wira Gardiner who has passed away at the age of 78.

Ta Wira (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Pikiao, Whakatōhea, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui) was one of the pre-eminent Māori leaders of our time – a founding director of the Waitangi Tribunal, a devoted public servant and a staunch leader and advocate for Māori rights, education and culture.

During his long and distinguished career Sir Wira served in the army, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, headed the Iwi Transition Agency and was founding CEO of Te Puni Kōkiri. Most recently he serves as interim Chair of Oranga Tamariki before standing down due to illness.

He also held several important governance roles chairing the Tertiary Education Commission, the Te Papa museum board and the Local Government Commission.

Sir Wira was also a published author of non-fiction books on the Māori Battalion, the history and tradition of kapa haka and a personal view on combat: A Soldier’s View of the Vietnam War told from the perspective of soldiers from the V4 Company who served in South Vietnam.

Sir Wira was known for his diplomacy, sharp intellect, and his ability to navigate and maintain collaborative relationships with Māori and non-Maori alike.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Tumuaki (Chairman) Joe Harawira said:

“Ta Wira was an agent of transformational change in all that he pursued on both the political and social scene for Ngati Awa and Māoridom as a whole. His aroha for his iwi was second to only his whānau. The legacy he has left for his people is immeasurable.

“We send our aroha and condolences to Sir Wira’s whānau, his wife Hekia, his children, mokopuna and everyone that knew and loved him. His passing is a great loss. Kei te tangi te ngakau mōu, mō tō whānau e Wira.”

It was Sir Wira’s express wish that no tangihanga would be held following his passing to protect against any potential impacts to frontline workers and the health system as the result of the current Omicron outbreak.

Ngāti Awa Rāhui Following Death at Moutohora

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Ngāti Awa Rāhui Following Death at Moutohora


A seven-day rāhui has been put in place following the death of a man who was diving at Moutohora Island today.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Chairman Joe Harawira says the rāhui would begin today (Thursday, December 23) and run through until next week (Thursday, December 30).

A rāhui, or ban, is a cultural practice that restricts the access to, or use of, an area and its resources. In in this case, access to Moutohora Island and its resources has been restricted for seven days.

Mr Harawira says the man’s death at this time of the year is particularly sad and he sends his condolences to the family on behalf of the Rūnanga.

“Christmas is all about celebrating with family and friends, and now this man’s whānau will be spending this time grieving for him rather than sharing the festivities with him. They will be in our thoughts as they face this sad time.”

He says the decision to implement a rahui was made in partnership with Te Tapatoru a Toi chairman, Te Kei Merito. Te Tapatoru a Toi is the joint management committee that was established with representation from Ngāti Awa, the Crown and the community to take care of Moutohora, Ohope Scenic Reserve and Tauwhare Pā.

The rāhui imposed does not include the Rurima Islands.



Contact:
Michal Akurangi
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Manager Taiao
Mobile: 027 647 7171

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa remembers Whakaari victims on Second Anniversary

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Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa remembers Whakaari victims on Second Anniversary


On the second anniversary of the Whakaari eruption Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa (TRONA) and White Island Tours staff have privately come together to remember the victims, the survivors and everyone who was impacted by the tragedy.

Twenty-two people died following the eruption on December 9, 2019 at 2.11pm. Of the 47 people on the island at the time of the eruption another 22 others suffered life changing injuries.

Among those who lost their lives were White Island Tours guides Hayden Marshall-Inman and Tipene Maangi. Today their colleagues and friends will join together to remember them and celebrate their lives.

Kelsey Waghorn and Jake Millbank were also guiding visitors to the island that day. They survived the eruption and guided many people to safety despite their own serious injuries.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, Tumuaki (Chairman) Joe Harawira said:

“We will always remember the people that lost their lives that day and we continue to pray for those that lost loved ones.

“Our thoughts are also with the survivors, here in Aotearoa and abroad and we hope they are healing physically and spiritually. We join with them in their grief.”

For the second consecutive year the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented a large memorial service from taking place. TRONA and White Island Tours staff will gather for a private commemoration to honour Hayden and Tipene. A minute’s silence will be observed at 2.11pm.


For more information please call Bianca Ruakere on 021 453 189

MEDIA RELEASE – Ōpihi Whanaungakore: Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa has lodged an appeal in the High Court

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17 August 2021

In its recent Jurisdictional Decision, the Environment Court dismissed the argument pursued by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa that the Environment Court has jurisdiction to hear the appeals against the Whakatane District Council’s decision to grant consents to develop land to MMS GP Limited.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa have today lodged an appeal against this decision in the High Court. 

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, alongside Hapū members, are opposed to the consent application which seeks to develop culturally significant land.  Ngāti Awa, consider the subject site at 77 Bunyan Road and the broader areas surrounding the site to be ancestral land of significant cultural value. The consent application was made by MMS GP Ltd which outlined developers’ plans to build 240 residential lots, a retirement village, 13 access lots, eight reserve lots, and seven public road lots.

END

Leonie Simpson to leave Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa to pursue business opportunity with Whānau

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Leonie Simpson to leave Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa to pursue business opportunity with Whānau


After five years as Manahautū (Chief Executive) at Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, Leonie Simpson has decided to step down from her role. Leonie is leaving to pursue a business opportunity in partnership with her husband Arekatera Maihi, at their company Toitu Design.

Toitu fuses Māori art with contemporary design including graphic art, whakairo and tā moko. The business has experienced a period of unprecedented growth in 2020 and 2021 and requires a leader with managerial experience.

During her time with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Leonie has helped Ngāti Awa to respond to a number of life changing events including the Edgecumbe floods of 2017, the Covid-19 pandemic and tragic eruption of Whakaari/White Island on 9 December 2019, with the loss of 22 lives.

“The last five years have been the most defining of my career and life. I have experienced no greater honour than to have been chosen to lead my Iwi and it has been a very humbling and fulfilling experience,” said Leonie.

Speaking about the eruption Leonie said:
“None of us that were present in Whakatāne when Whakaari erupted will ever forget that day. It is part of our personal and Iwi history now. Ngāti Awa responded immediately opening our Marae and comforting the whānau of the victims, and the Whakatāne community. We will never forget the people who lost their lives, their loved ones and those that were hurt. They remain in our thoughts.”

Leonie will leave Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa at the end of this month but will be on hand to provide a thorough handover to her successor. The Board has commenced the search to find a candidate of Leonie’s calibre and will make an announcement about this in due course.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with and been supported by past, present and future leaders of Ngāti Awa, including uncle Joe (Dr Joseph Mason) who passed away last week.”

“His absolute dedication to protecting and enhancing our Iwi rights, his humble leadership, and his unwavering commitment to Ngāti Awa are an inspiration to me. The legacy of uncle Joe and our many leaders means Ngāti Awa are well placed to shape our future, continue to protect the taiao (environment), and develop a workforce centred on our values and identity as Ngāti Awa. I am very grateful for the support I have received from the Iwi, hapū and whānau of Ngāti Awa. Ēhara taku toa i te toa takatahi ēngari he toa takatini e.”

Reflecting on her decision to step down, Leonie said:
“The time is right for me to hand over the reins and for a new leader to emerge. I am confident that my replacement will continue to build on our progress and will be supported by the dedicated team at the Rūnanga that I am very proud to have worked alongside.”
Leonie is looking forward to spending more time with her whānau, husband and daughter and the team at Toitu, “It is an exciting new chapter in our lives and I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Tumuaki (Chairman) Joe Harawira said:
“The leadership shown by Leonie over the past five years has been exemplary. She has led the Iwi through a number of extremely challenging and sometimes contentious issues affecting Ngāti Awa during her tenure as Manahautu.

“I have appreciated her patience with me, whilst settling into the role of Tumuaki and I applaud and support Leonie’s decision to pursue further career options and to spend more time with her whānau.

“The challenge has been laid. Who will pick up the manuka, to continue the legacy that has been created through her wonderful leadership and guidance?

“Ma te atua koutou ko to whanau e manaaki e tiaki a nga tau kei te haere ake.”


For more information please contact Bianca Ruakere on 021 453 189 or email bianca@cloutcommunications.co.nz

Ngāti Awa wins right to appeal water bottling decision

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Ngāti Awa wins right to appeal water bottling decision



Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa (Ngāti Awa) has won the right to appeal a High Court judgment dismissing its appeal from the Environment Court.


Ngāti Awa went to the Court of Appeal to seek the right to challenge that ruling.


The Environment Court majority’s decision was to grant Creswell New Zealand Limited (Creswell), the right to extract 1.1 billion cubic metres of water annually from the Otākiri aquifer, for water bottling.


Creswell is a subsidiary of Chinese soft drinks giant Ngonfu Spring, headquartered in Hangzhou, China. Otakiri is a small rural settlement a short distance from Whakatāne and within the Ngāti Awa rohe.


Ngāti Awa first opposed the Creswell proposal in 2018, concerned that the proposal would have irrevocable and negative effects on te mauri o te wai, that Ngāti Awa would not be able to carry out their roles as kaitiaki and that the proposal was inconsistent with the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Leonie Simpson, Manahautū (CEO), Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa says: “This is an encouraging decision because we’ve won the right to be heard. He taonga te wai – water is an inherited treasure. Once it has been removed from our rohe our wai will never return. As kaitiaki and mana whenua we have a responsibility to act when decisions impact the natural resources within our rohe.


“Today is a step forward, but the fight is by no means over, and we shouldn’t have to do this as kaitiaki and tangata whenua of Aotearoa. We are really concerned about the continuing allocation of freshwater rights in our country. Successive governments have failed to address the issue, but the time is now right for it to do so as part of the freshwater policy review and RMA reforms.


“There is also the serious issue of pollution. We’ve just had evidence that the Bay of Plenty coastline is contaminated by millions of small plastic particles, which are then absorbed by kai moana and which people eat. Many of these particles come from plastic drink bottles. And if Creswell get the green light they could be producing up to 1,800 single use bottles per minute. If that’s allowed to proceed, central and local government authorities here would seriously need to look at themselves in the mirror.”


For more information please contact Bianca Ruakere on 021 453 189 or email: bianca@cloutcommunications.co.nz


Notes to Editors:
Ngāti Awa are the descendants of Te Tini o Toi, the original inhabitants of the Eastern Bay of Plenty region, and the people who arrived on the Mataatua waka. Today Ngāti Awa represent 22 hapū and have 19 marae. For more information please visit the website: https://ngatiawa.iwi.nz/

Ngāti Awa first opposed the Creswell proposal in 2018, concerned that the proposal would have irrevocable and negative effects on te mauri o te wai, that Ngāti Awa would not be able to carry out their roles as kaitiaki and that the proposal was inconsistent with the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Water is an inherited treasure. Once it has been removed from our rohe our wai will never return.

Nongfu Spring is China’s largest supplier of packaged water and ranks as one of the top 20 beverage companies in China. They were founded in 1996 and are headquartered in Hangzhou, Zheijang Province, China. Creswell New Zealand Limited are a subsidiary of Nongfu Spring. The company website is: https://www.nongfuspring.com/