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Restoration of Tarawera awa focus for new Treaty co-governance group

February 2023

The Tarawera Awa Restoration Strategy Group (TARSG) had its inaugural hui in Whakatāne on Tuesday 28 February. The newly formed Treaty co-governance group will endeavor to improve the mauri (life force) of the awa.

Ngāti Rangitihi welcomed iwi partners Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Mākino Iwi Authority, Ngāti Tūwharetoa (BOP) Settlement Trust, Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Rotorua Lakes Council, Kawerau District Council and Whakatāne District Council.

The co-governance forum was set up as part of the Ngāti Rangitihi Treaty settlement.

The group recognises that the Tarawera River and its tributaries are a taonga of great spiritual and cultural importance to Ngati Rangithi and the river once acted as a major trade route.

Members of the strategy group will each contribute to restoring and enhancing the mauri of the awa.

Leith Comer (Ngāti Rangitihi) was appointed as Chair of the group, and Pouroto Ngaropo (Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa) was appointed as Deputy Chair.

“Returning our waterways to what they originally were is of the upmost importance and working together with all the partners at the table will help us to achieve that” said Mr Comer.

Toi Moana Chair Doug Leeder acknowledged Regional Council’s positive experiences in working within shared decision-making spaces and the opportunity it provides for improved outcomes for the environment.

“Partnerships with Māori are vital to the work we do, we are seeing great success with our other co-governance groups in the rohe and this is a huge step forward for the Tarawera awa.”

Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council has been delegated responsibility to provide administrative support to the group.

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