Iwi join water governance body
Two iwi groups have joined the committee overseeing Wellington Water, the joint, council-owned organisation responsible for drinking, storm and waste water management for metropolitan Wellington and South Wairarapa.
Ngāti Toa and Taranaki Whānui will now each have a seat on the Wellington Water Committee, which also comprises a single member of each shareholding council.
Ngāti Toa representative Sir Matiu Rei said he greatly appreciated the process that had been undertaken to reach this point. It was significant for the region, he said, but also nationally, for mana whenua to have a seat at the table guiding the planning for the future of water use and management.
Taranaki Whānui representative Kim Skelton acknowledged the shareholder councils of Wellington Water and expressed the appreciation of Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika for the invitation and the warm welcome to the committee, and the acknowledgement of their presence as mana whenua in this takiwā (region).
“To be able to join this committee, influence the decision making and principles, and to really be at the forefront of what I consider co-design for the future of te mana me te mouri o te wai - that is a privilege and honour for me personally. I am confident that the presence and active participation of mana whenua iwi – Taranaki Whānui and Ngāti Toa will bring diversity and significant added value to this forum.”
David Bassett, chair of the Water Committee, said that together with the addition of South Wairarapa District Council, it was an exciting time for the Committee. “The addition of mana whenua representatives into the Water Committee has taken about two and a half years to achieve, and it’s great to see it coming to fruition. Over this time, we have been able to set out expectations of how we’re going to work together in a collaborative way and I’m looking forward to seeing the work this Water Committee will do in the future.”