This section includes information about the work of the Iwi Chairs Forum, as undertaken by the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group.

The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group was formed in 2007 to advance the interests of all iwi in relation to fresh water through direct engagement with the Crown.

The group comprises the leaders of Ngāi Tahu, Whanganui, Waikato-Tainui, Te Arawa and Tūwharetoa and reports regularly to all iwi.

Our wai (water) is an inseparable part of our whakapapa and our identity, and is a fundamental part of what drives our very existence. The future health and wellbeing of our waters are a matter of utmost importance to all iwi, as well as all New Zealanders.

In the last few years, our group and advisers have participated in the Land & Water Forum along with some 60 organisations including Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Dairy NZ, Beef and Lamb NZ, power generators, horticultural and forestry groups, iwi and non-government organisations, such as Forest and Bird Society and Fish & Game New Zealand.

The aim of the Forum was to develop an enduring and sustainable framework for the future governance and management of freshwater in Aotearoa. It has now completed its work and reported back to the Government. We await their decision on the Forum’s recommendations.

To achieve this enduring and sustainable framework for the management of freshwater, iwi rights and interests must be appropriately recognised and provided for. We seek tangible and meaningful recognition of these rights and interests, and desire an active and ongoing relationship with the waters in our respective rohe.

This is the freshwater challenge for the future.

Third Freshwater Stakeholders Dinner

The third Freshwater Stakeholders Engagement Evening was held on Wednesday 29 June 2016, at Te Wharewaka o Poneke Function Centre in Wellington. The purpose of the event was to share with a number of key stakeholders (energy companies, councils, farmers, dairy etc) our objectives in relation to addressing iwi rights and interests in freshwater.

The evening included an opportunity to share a number of video presentations.

The Ngai Tahu farms video was used as an example of how iwi are balancing commercial development and the sustainable management of natural resources. It provides insights into how Ngāi Tahu is playing a leadership role – pushing the envelope on what best practice means for the farming community.

Collaboration and partnerships have been key elements of the leading edge Lake Taupō protection project which was selected as a New Zealand section finalist at prestigious River Foundation awards in Brisbane in 2015. The lake is a taonga for Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

Lake Taupō is the largest lake in New Zealand, valued highly for its crystal blue water and dramatic vistas. These features support an international tourist mecca, a world class fishery and a recreation and retirement centre as well as a significant forestry and farming interests.

Second Freshwater Stakeholders Dinner

The Second Freshwater Stakeholders Dinner was held on 8 December 2015 in Auckland. The dinner was an opportunity to update a number of key stakeholders on the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group engagement with the Crown and their current work programme on Freshwater.

A video was used to highlight the different relationships and approaches various iwi have with their waterways including Tuwharetoa, Ngati Rangi, Te Whanau a Apanui and Ngai Tahu.

Freshwater Stakeholder Dinner

Our first stakeholder engagement evening was held on 20 June 2015 in Auckland. This was the first evening targeted at sharing the views of the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group in relation to water. As part of the evening, the principles that underpin the engagement with the Crown in relation to resolving iwi rights and interests in freshwater was shared with all attendees. These principles were developed by the iwi at Hopuhopu in February 2012, and supported by all iwi at Tūrangawaewae Marae in September 2012. The principles are:

  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi te tāhuhu o te kaupapa o te wai.
  • Te mana o te wai.
  • Te mana motuhake o ia wai o ia iwi ki te wai.
  • Te kaitiakitanga o ngā hapū me ngā iwi ki te wai.
  • Te mana whakahaere o ngā hapū me ngā iwi ki te wai.

These are explained through the following animated video.

Video

markFreshwater Iwi Leaders Group co-chair Mark Solomon talks about the bigger role that Maori want to play in managing our lakes and rivers. Watch the video for the full interview.

Hui & Engagement

Regional Hui Dates and Venue Information- July/August 2015

Media & News

Iwi Leaders Group Received Unanimous Support to Continue Freshwater Talks

Published 14 September 2012

At today’s meeting of the Iwi Chairs Forum at Turangawaewae Marae more than 45 iwi organisations unanimously passed formal resolutions endorsing the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group and its continued engagement with the Crown.

The call for kotahitanga arising from the previous day’s water hui was acknowledged. However, it was made very clear by the assembled iwi that the mechanisms for working together are matters for each iwi to consider and discuss with their respective hapu and could not be imposed on iwi in some generic way.

“Two things were made clear by the iwi present today”, said Sir Tumu te Heuheu, Chair of the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group. “First, it is for each iwi to determine how they wish to advance the issue of their rights and interests in fresh water and it is not a case of one size fits all. Secondly, our current engagement with the Crown must continue given the important decisions that are likely to be made by the Crown over the next three to six months in relation to a new freshwater framework for Aotearoa.”

“While matters relating to the sale of SOE shares are important, the focus of the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group has always been clear,” said Chair of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, Mark Solomon. “Our focus is on the Crown’s ongoing review of the framework for freshwater, including important issues of governance, decision-making, limit setting and allocation. Iwi rights and interests have a place across all these issues and must be appropriately recognised.”

“It is critical that this engagement continues because the health and wellbeing of our waterways and iwi rights and interests must be at the forefront of any new freshwater system. We are in discussions with the Crown on these issues, not in negotiations, and we will continue to report back and seek further direction from the motu as those discussions progress.”

National Hui Provide Important Opportunity for Discussion

Published 6 September 2012

The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group will continue to progress its work this coming week with two important hui being held in connection with rights and interests in water. On Thursday next week the Iwi Leaders Group will be attending the national hui called by Kingi Tuheitia in relation to the sale of State owned assets and on Friday they will be reporting to the National Iwi Chairs Forum.

“The two hui next week are important to the ongoing work of the Iwi Leaders Group and its engagement with the Crown”, said Sir Tumu te Heuheu, Chair of the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group. “The national hui called by Kingi Tuheitia will provide the opportunity for the Iwi Leaders Group to clarify its role with the wider motu before reporting to the Iwi Chairs Forum the following day.”

The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group was formed in 2007 to advance the interests of all iwi in relation to fresh water through direct engagement with the Crown. The focus of the Iwi Leaders Group from the onset has been on dialogue with the Crown in the context of the Crown’s review of the freshwater management regime. That review includes not only issues in relation to freshwater governance, values and decision-making, but also the important issue of allocation.

“Iwi have made it clear to us that their rights, interests and responsibilities in relation to water demand recognition in a substantive and meaningful way. That requires engaging on a range of issues that go far beyond the current Crown proposals in relation to the sale of shares in MOM companies”, said Sir Tumu. “The Iwi Leaders Group has never sought to usurp the right of individual groups to progress their issues in whatever forum they choose. Rather, we have been clear that our engagement with the Crown is directed at two important matters. First, ensuring that the long term health and wellbeing of our waterways is at the forefront of any new freshwater framework, and secondly, ensuring that such framework fairly recognises and provides for iwi rights and interests within every catchment.”

Iwi Leaders Group Committed to Fresh Water Discussions

Published 26 August 2012

The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group notes with interest the Waitangi Tribunal’s Interim Report on the National Fresh Water and Geothermal Resource Claim and the Tribunal’s important confirmation that Māori have rights and interests in fresh water that must be addressed by the Crown.

“The Tribunal’s findings on the nature of Māori rights in respect of fresh water come as no surprise,” said Sir Tumu te Heuheu, Chair of the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group. “The Tribunal’s findings build on a number of earlier Tribunal reports on such matters and are entirely consistent with the basis on which the Iwi Leaders Group has been advancing these issues with the Crown.”

The primary focus of the Tribunal’s Report is directed to the Crown’s intended sale of shares in MOM companies. While the Crown will undoubtedly give careful consideration to those matters given their significant public interest, the Iwi Leaders Group remains committed to progressing its existing discussions with the Crown. Those discussions are focused on the appropriate recognition of iwi rights and interests in the context of the development of a new freshwater management framework in New Zealand.

“The preference of the Iwi Leaders Group has always been to advance these issues in direct discussions at a leadership level with the Crown, not through litigation. The Tribunal’s Report does not alter that focus or commitment,” said Sir Tumu.

“One of the key principles for the Iwi Leaders Group is the health and wellbeing of our waterways. We must, as a nation, find a way forward which protects the sustainability of our water resources into the future. As I have said previously, that requires a careful balance between economic and environmental interests and must recognise and provide for the rights and interests of Māori.”

“Fundamental to any enduring freshwater framework is the resolution of rights and interests of Iwi in respect of fresh water. That resolution is not about ownership of water in any absolute sense nor exclusivity as is often misunderstood. Rather, we are looking to fair and meaningful provision for the cultural and economic interests of Māori, alongside existing stakeholders and the public, as part of a new management framework. These matters – which involve important issues in relation to fresh water governance, values and allocation – are at the heart of the ongoing discussions between the Iwi Leaders Group and the Crown.”