March 09, 2018
Pou positions Uenuku for environment role
Three Ruapehu tribes are today launching a trust to formalise their role as guardians of the environment and improve their position in treaty settlement negotiations.
Uenuku Charitable Trust chair Aiden Gilbert says Te Mano o te Whenua Tupua is one of three subsidiary entities being established to enable social and cultural revitalisation, commercial development and environmental protection.
He says having Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little at today’s Ra Wawata or Aspirations Day is a chance for the tribes of Uenuku, Tamakana and Tamahaki to impress him on the importance of the environment to any settlement, given that 60 percent of the rohe is Department of Conservation land.
"Our maunga does release all the rivers that really feed the North Island. Water quality, water ownership, these factors come into it. We have a bombardment of 1080 in our whenua for pest control and so it's about putting our hand up and saying look, we have to have some input into this. Launching of a pou allows the government to deal with us and us to put up our hand and say well, it's fitting that we are kaitiaki of our land," Mr Gilbert says.
Uenuku’s claim is still 12 to 18 months from settlement but there is no reason the crown can’t start dealing with it now in a post-settlement way on some issues.
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