It is the beginning to achieving Sir James Henare's aspirations for the sacred Taumarere River. This was the expressed message by Ngāti Hine leaders today at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the business arm of the district council.
According to Pita Tipene, “I've already said to the chair of Far North Group Holdings that the hapū are the chiefs of this river, not you. You are visitors here and that's the Ngāti Hine perspective.”
Those promoting this Memorandum of Understanding say it is a joining of two groups rather than the ceding of power.
Sir James Henare was heavily involved in the protest of the proposed construction of the Ōpua marina and the degradation of the river environment.
Currently the construction of stage two of the marina has been given the green light.
Pita Tipene says, “Protecting our sacred river is of utmost priority, and Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Manu Te Kapotai and Te Roroa hapū can all see the pollution that's occurred on our river and we are all committed to addressing this environmental tragedy.”
Only time will tell what benefits come from today's signing.