12 July 2016

Te Mauri o Te Wai – the life supporting capacity of water, its significance to Māori and our regional communities is on the agenda of a regional Māori conference in Rotorua from July 21-22.

Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Waikato Regional Council will host the biennial Te Ōniao conference for tangata whenua from the two regions. The theme is Te Mauri o Te Wai.

A line-up of expert speakers that organisers hope will impress an expected 180 attendees includes Tamati Kruger (Tūhoe), Professor Linda Te Aho (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Waikato-Tainui), Rāhui Papa (Waikato-Tainui), Lara Burkhardt (Ngāti Whātua) and others. They will showcase the significance of the fresh water space and its importance to Māori including mātauranga Māori and kaitiakitanga.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Strategic Engagement Manager Kataraina O’Brien says this is the third event of its kind for the Bay of Plenty region and it has proven successful in the past.

“Te Ōniao is a way for our two regional councils and tangata whenua in our regions to whakawhiti whakaaro (share ideas) and an opportunity for whakawhanaungatanga (network) around the freshwater space and resource management. It is a koha (a gesture of reciprocity) back to those Maori communities that continually assist Council in its mahi.

This will be the third conference Bay of Plenty Regional Council has hosted. The council is excited to have Waikato Regional Council co-hosting this year.

“This will help us build and enhance capacity and capability for iwi Maori and strengthen relationships between our two regions,” Kataraina says.

Te Ōniao will be held at the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre on Thursday, July 21 from 8am-5.30pm and Friday, July 22 from 9am- 2pm. Workshops on the health of Tuna (eels) in the Rangitaiki River, Matauranga Maori Framework project, Maori Hearing Commissioners,  Maori Land Potential, Fresh Water Management and Iwi Resource Management Plans will also take place. To see the full programme and register for the event visit www.boprc.govt.nz/Te-Oniao-conference or phone event organisers Awhina August on 021 143 7040 or Sandy Hohepa on 0800 884 880 for more details.