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A partnership for the future of our whenua

Friday 10 June, 2022

The growing relationship between Maraetaha Incorporated and Gisborne District Council has been formalised after both parties recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Maraetaha chair Bella Hawkins says it was a historic moment.

“It’s a chance to share our story as Maraetaha Incorporated supported by Ngai Tāmanuhiri on behalf of our shareholders.”

The partnership between Council and mana whenua has been building for two years before the formal signing on May 25.

Together they are transitioning 1400 hectares of pine plantation to an indigenous forest at Waingake and Pamoa – land inland known as Mangapoike that surrounds the water dams, pipes and the treatment plant where the majority of Tairawhiti's city water supply comes from.

“This MoU is a relationship document that recognises partnership, it aligns with similar principles and understanding as the Treaty of Waitangi,” says Ms Hawkins.

“We are working together for the future of our whenua at Waingake and Pamoa.”

To have this relationship formally recognised is significant, says Mayor Rehette Stoltz.

“It’s been a learning journey at Council and we thank Maraetaha Incorporated and Ngai Tāmanuhiri for walking alongside us and for being patient.

“This is all about how we work together for the whenua, for our whanau and for the future", says Ms Hawkins.

Funding for 925,000 native trees was granted last year and a quarter of the trees are already in the ground.

The land closest to the water pipeline is the priority for native planting.

Mayor Stoltz thanked iwi and Council for the hard work both sides had put into this project.

“This valued partnership is also creating meaningful employment and training opportunities for our locals alongside restoring native biodiversity.”

This planting will deliver natural infrastructure to protect, filter and supply clean water to Tairāwhiti, helping to provide water security, resilience and adaptation to climate change for the region.

The MoU states, “When nature thrives so do our families, communities, and planet”.

Tairāwhiti has only seven per cent of native bush left so restoring this area to a native forest is key to the revitalisation of this area, and our region. As the Maraetaha Incorporated vision states Whatungarongaro te tangata, toitū te whenua, People come and go, the land remains forever.

For more about the Waingake journey head to our website.