Ngati Manawa withdraws support for Aquifer deal

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Central North Island iwi Ngati Manawa has pulled out of a planned water bottling project with New Zealand Aquifer in Murupara.

At the Te Runanga o Ngati Manawa AGM held in Murupara, the board told beneficiaries the ownership of the resource consents to take water was a major factor in the iwi deciding to pull out of the venture.

Te Runanga o Ngati Manawa chair Kani Edwards says they maintained the resource consents should be controlled by the iwi to ensure the safety and protection of the wai.

Kani says the tribe lost no money in the venture, and the Runanga remains optimistic the project may be revived in the future.

“The due diligence of the planned project has helped us understand the many possibilities and directions we can further investigate.

“We still have huge social problems in Murupara that need urgent attention, as our people are suffering. We will continue to look at all the opportunities to environmentally and socially use our treasured and abundant wai for the betterment of our people,” says Kani.

Murupara currently has an unemployment rate of 27 per cent, sadly four times the national average. Most of those who do work are earning less than $21,000 a year.

Kani says the tribe is still focused on water opportunities and are open to collaborating, in particular with other iwi or New Zealand groups.

“We will ensure that any agreement reached has built-in processes and safeguards protecting our kaitakitanga – our guardianship of our treasured water resource. We understand the need to control the process, and to reflect the values and mana of our people.

“This is a Tino Rangatiratanga move – we do not want to go another 30 years of not determining our future, but we are prepared to be patient to find the right partners.”

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