Following an Iwi Leaders Forum in Kerikeri this week to discuss iwi and hapū rights and interest in fresh water, a plan to move forward has been agreed. But one iwi leader has some unanswered questions.
According to Ngahiwi Tumoana, “I don't believe the Crown will do what they say. But I hope they will.”
While in Waitangi, Prime Minister John Key said the Government maintained its position that no-one owned the water. But he also said Māori did have some genuine rights and interests in water which needed to be defined.
Mr Tumoana says, “The Crown and local government all think they own the water. We say no, it belongs to whānau, hapū and iwi.”
“Here in Kahungunu, we are fighting for our water, our treaty settlements around water, so we can maintain our protocols.”
Mr Tumoana says the interests of iwi in freshwater are not limited to cultural and environmental matters but includes economic development.
The government and iwi leaders hope to resolve Māori freshwater rights by 2016.