The Pekehaua Puna Reserve at Taniwha Springs on the Awahou River has been returned to Ngāti Rangiwewehi iwi by the Rotorua Lakes Council. An auspicious occasion for Te Arawa.
In front of their eponymous ancestor Tawakeheimoa, Ngāti Rangiwewehi finally laid a long held grievance to rest.
For Rotorua councillor Trevor Maxwell is was also a reflection of those dedicated so much to the cause, “We started to think of the hearings and people who have passed on now, who fought for this as well. I think it is a beautiful day to celebrate.”
“We will be able to clean up the waterways so that it is suitable for our children to swim and drink,” says Ngahuia Bidios from Ngāti Rangiwewehi.
The Puna Reserve was taken and vested in Rotorua Country Council in 1966. It is said this land surrounds the home of the deity and guardian of Rangiwewehi known as "Pekehaua".
“It is only right and proper that Pekehaua is returned to Rangiwewehi. It's very symbolic” says Mayor Steve Chadwick of the Rotorua district council."
Ngāti Rangiwewehi will now restore their presence and connection to the Awahou River.
The return of Taniwha Springs is subject to an easement, allowing Council to continue taking water until the current consent expires in 2018.