Te Mana o te Wai: The Waiapu Freshwater Catchment Plan

Te Mana o te Wai: The Waiapu Freshwater Catchment Plan
Ko te mana ko te hauora o te whenua, ko te hauora o ngā awa, ko te hauora o te iwi – Healthy land, healthy rivers, healthy people. Waiapu Koka Huhua
December 19, 2023

To Ngāti Porou, the winding river of the Waiapu, is the source of our spiritual and physical sustenance, the inspiration for our art and stories and the carrier of our matauranga. The Waiapu runs through the veins of all those who whakapapa to Ngāti Porou and is a beacon, with our maunga Hikurangi, for the coming generations of our hapu and iwi. These cultural markers, connecting the human world with the spiritual and natural worlds for Ngāti Porou have defined the personalities of the people of the river and rooted our whānau deeply into the waters and soils of the Waiapu.

In 2016 Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou worked with our hapu to discuss how best to address water quantity and quality for our wai as a whole. This was initiated due to the Gisborne District Council wanting to develop a Freshwater Management Plan that would cover the Ngati Porou rohe.

As a result of this advocacy, in 2015, the Gisborne District Council (GDC) and Ngati Porou entered into a joint management agreement (JMA) for the Waiapu Catchment specifically as a beginning, to enable decision-making and to co-develop a Waiapu Catchment Management Plan that would manage all land and water use in the catchment. A copy of the JMA can be found here.

The Waiapu Catchment Plan is the next key piece of work as a result of the JMA.

What is a Waiapu Catchment Plan?

When complete the Waiapu Catchment Plan will be a Regional Plan under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and provide key resource management direction for the management of freshwater/natural resources in the Waiapu. As a result of these interventions, this plan will be designed in full partnership between Ngati Porou and the GDC. What is often the case with plans such as these, is that Iwi are classed as participants and stakeholders. This plan requires both organisations to share the actual writing of the plan. This change is welcomed by Ngati Porou, but it understands that there comes a responsibility to ensure that our input is resourced and of a high quality to enable the best outcomes for the Waiapu.

What will the plan cover?

Catchment Plans outline: How the plan considers and recognises Te Mana o Te Wai

Essentially the plan will cover how people interact with the awa, how they use it and protect it. This means it is imperative, as kaitiaki and ahi kaa that the whanau of the Waiapu are part of how this is designed.

What have we done to date?

Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou have three representatives on the Joint Management Forum which is the governing body of the JMA. Selwyn Parata (Co-Chair), Tui Warmenhoven and Herewini Te Koha. The GDC partners are Rehette Stoltz (Co-Chair), Bill Burdett, and Nadine Thatcher. This group has been meeting regularly to progress the plan and technicians for both organisations have designed a project plan which provides more detail around the dates. There are two key phases, at a high level, our joint plan making programme consists of two key phases:

  1. co-drafting the catchment plan; and
  2. consultation and notification.

These phases have not yet begun, but it is expected that from March 2020 Te Runanganui and GDC will work together to begin an engagement process with nga hapu, Ngati Porou landowners and other stakeholders to help the two parties draft a plan. Further details on dates and the project plan will follow in the next month.

Preparing with the Hapu of the Waiapu

Parallel to the joint process with GDC, Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou has a project with the Ministry for the Environment to enable our hapu and Ngati Porou landowners to prepare for the drafting of the Waiapu Catchment Plan. The process of drafting a plan requires some environmental planning support and we have initially contracted Tina Porou (Te Aitanga a Mate, Te Whanau a Rakairoa, Ngati Horowai), an experienced environmental planner to support the development of some baseline positions through hapu and Ngati Porou landowner korero. To date hui have been held with Te Riu o Waiapu, Wiwi Nati, Uepohatu, Hikurangi Takiwa, Ngati Ira/Te Whanau a Ruataupare representatives. Further hui with all these clusters and with Ngati Porou landowners are scheduled to be delivered before April 2020. Please keep an eye on this website for dates to come when confirmed with hapu.

These hui are a time for us as Ngati Porou of the Waiapu to come together and share our views together on what the rules, policies, limits and objectives should be for the plan. We will need to consider what our protection aspirations are and how we attract sustainable business to our rohe that operate under kaitiaki perimeters.

A draft korero has been prepared as a result of reviewing mahi completed on the Waiapu previously, hui held on this kaupapa, and interviews with whanau members, and this will be tested with whanau as the hui continue around the Waiapu.

Where to from here?

We have established a technical team with representatives provided by each hapu cluster, this group will also continue working through the wider catchment plan development and multiple hui will be held throughout the next 18 months towards the completion of phase 1. Full detail of the process is outlined in the attached project plan, co-developed by Te Runanganui and GDC as a result of the JMA.

For any patai, requests for further information, copies of presentations given to date in the preparation of the draft korero, please contact Tina Porou tina@poipoia.co.nz