Agreement signals exciting new journey ahead
A transformational partnership between the Rangitaiki Lot 28B No 22 Block Ahu Whenua Trust, Te Runanga o Ngati Awa, Ngati Awa Group Holdings Limited and Whakatane District Council has been confirmed following the signing of a Heads of Agreement between the parties on Monday.
Whakatane District Mayor Tony Bonne says this is the most exciting opportunity the district has seen in decades.
“This partnership is a significant step forward, and one which will ensure there are opportunities for Trust beneficiaries, Iwi and the whole district to significantly benefit from,” says Tony, at the signing on Monday August 26.
The Heads of Agreement is a result of the parties working together in partnership to seek opportunities for improved cultural, community, economic and environmental outcomes as part of the Whakatane Regeneration Programme.
“I have a looked forward to this kind of partnership with iwi for many years and it’s great to see this come to fruition,” says Tony.
The Heads of Agreement creates clear expectations for how the relationship between all parties will operate. It sets out the intention to cooperate and work together by meeting and communicating regularly and openly to progress the investigation into the Proposed Boat Harbour, and to promote the mutual interests of the parties. It also outlines the agreement to raise any issues or perceived problems at any early stage and engage with one another in good faith.
“There has been great support from the community for the vision for the project so far,” says Tony. “I acknowledge that there has been significant input from key project partners, the contributing staff and the guidance we’ve received from the Provincial Development team.”
Te Runanga o Ngati Awa Chairman Dr Hohepa Mason says the Heads of Agreement is a step towards partnership between the Council and iwi, which ultimately will mean better outcomes for all who reside within the rohe of Ngati Awa.
Echoing those sentiments, Trust Chair Brian Simpson says the project has the ability to transform the future of the Trust and its ability to support its owners.
“What we’ve identified here is an opportunity that will ultimately enable us to provide long-term and holistic benefits that will make a practical and positive impact on the wellbeing of the owners and their whanau,” says Brian.
The parties have confirmed their commitment to the outcomes of the Whakatane Regeneration Programme, but look forward to the opportunity to accelerate and unlock these earlier through co-investment with central government.