November 02, 2021
Kaitiaki give voice to Whanganui awa
The chair of the Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui, Sheena Maru, says having representatives to speak for the river is changing the way people see it.
Te Puni Kokiri senior advisor Keria Ponga have been appointed a pou tupua for a three-year term, replacing Dame Tariana Turia who retired earlier this year.
She joins Ngāti Rarua post-settlement governance entity chair and iwi historian Turama Hawira, who was reappointed by river iwi and the crown.
Ms Maru says both Pou Tupua are attuned to the reo and tikanga of the region.
She says their role is to make sure everyone making decisions about the river are aware of the values of the river and consider the voices of the people.
“We are seeing a change in the way in which we communicate with one another, one where we tend to look to each other for support. This is not about derogating or taking control of anyone. If anything, we are asking people to come to the table together to find solutions for the health and well-being of this river and the community,” Ms Maru says.