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Sharples: Nga Wai O Maniapoto (Waipa River) Bill

Speech – New Zealand Government

Mr Speaker I move that the Nga Wai O Maniapoto (Waipa River) Bill be now read a third time.

Nga Wai O Maniapoto (Waipa River) Bill

Mr Speaker I move that the Nga Wai O Maniapoto (Waipa River) Bill be now read a third time.

The Nga Wai o Maniapoto (Waipa River) Bill formalises the eternal relationship of Ngati Maniapoto with the Waipā River. The Waipa’s journey from the headwaters in the Rangitoto Ranges into the heart of the Waikato River has been chronicled and cherished by generations.

Nga Wai O Maniapoto, the Waipa is born of the spring Pekepeke at the foot of Rangitoto mountain, it flows on to Para-kiri where it meets the Otamaroa Stream, further through the Waipa valley it is joined by the waters of Okurawhango and Tunawaea. Through the stones of Hapahapai o Tarapikau and released into the Waimahora stream, past Tangitehau then on to Otewa, past Parewaeono, it joins the Mangawhero and Mangapu and flows on to the rocks of Mataiwhetu to join the Waitomo, on past Kahotea and Te Kopua where it unites with Moa-kura-rua and journeys on to Purekireki, Tawhiao’s ancient home, it merges at Matakitaki the place of battle and surges forth to Te Rore, further to Te Papa O Rotu at Whatawhata, the Waipa runs on to Te Kowhai past the marae of Tangirau, uniting with the Waikato at Ngaruawhia.

Ngati Maniapoto say the essence of Waiwaia was instilled in the Waipa at the rivers birthplace in the springs of Pekepeke. Describing the likeness as “Waiwaia” the waters of the Waipa were described as astonishing, beyond description. One attempt to describe Waiwaia talks of ripples of water reflecting in the sun under the moonlight. Rainbows that appear in waterfalls was another attempt. But the most important part of Waiwaia was that it was the water itself and without it man could not survive. Hence the whakatauki of Nga Wai O Maniapoto:

“Ko te mauri, ko te waiora o te Waipa ko Waiwaia”

“The essence and wellbeing of the Waipa is Waiwaia”.

Mr Speaker, waiwaiā is the personification of the waters of the Waipā River and the enduring spiritual guardian of the peoples of Ngati Maniapoto. This relationship is based on profound respect and gives rise to responsibilities to protect te mana o te wai and to exercise kaitiakitanga in accordance with the long-established tikanga of Maniapoto. To Maniapoto, the Waipā is a taonga, a sacred river where the tohi rituals were performed, where the umbilical rites were observed, and where the purification rituals were undertaken. Under this bill, Maniapoto achieves co-management arrangements specific to the Waipā River and its catchment. The arrangements are extended to the headwaters of the Waipā River at Pekepeke Spring in the Rangitoto Ranges. The overarching intent is to restore and maintain the quality and integrity of the waters that flow into, and form part of, the Waipā River for present and future generations, and the care and protection of the mana tuku iho o waiwaiā. Waiwaiā refers to the essence and well-being of the Waipā River.

The Ngā Wai o Maniapoto (Waipa River) Bill complements the Waikato River settlement with Waikato-Tainui and the Waikato River co-management deeds with Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi. Together, they establish a single, unified co-governance framework for both the Waipā River and the Waikato River. We are here today because of the deep obligation and desire of the Maniapoto people to restore, maintain and protect all of the waters that flow and fall within their tribal rohe.

This Bill acknowledges that the relationship between Maniapoto and the Waipa River is historic, intellectual, physical and spiritual. Historically, Te Mana o Te Wai was such that it provided all manner of sustenance to Maniapoto. This has included physical and spiritual nourishment, which has, over generations, maintained the quality and integrity of Maniapoto marae, whānau, hapū and iwi.

The Waipa River is a significant contributor to the waters of the Lower Waikato River and will have a significant impact on arrangements to restore and protect health and wellbeing of the Waikato River. Maniapoto acknowledge that the restoration and maintenance of the Waipa River, as part of the larger catchment, needs to be coordinated with the management of the Waikato River.

The foundations of this agreement therefore includes references to the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act 2010. In history, Waikato and Maniapoto have shared a strong relationship through the Tainui waka. Today, this is manifested through the support they each give to the Kīngitanga. In a similar way, their sacred awa, Waikato and Waipa, are inextricably linked.

Similar to Waikato-Tainui, the Ngā Wai o Maniapoto Bill provides for Maniapoto to participate in the vision and strategy for the Waipa River, to be represented in the membership of the Waikato River Authority, and to participate in the making of an Upper Waipa River integrated management plan. The Bill provides for Maniapoto to make an environmental plan called the Maniapoto Iwi Environmental Management Plan and to enter a joint management agreement with local authorities. The Bill also provides for a process for extending the vision and strategy to the Upper Waipa River and the process for making and updating the Upper Waipa River integrated management plan.

From today Ngati Maniapoto and the Crown are Treaty partners working together for the enhancement of the Waipa River and the restoration of Waiwaia.

“Ko te mauri, ko te waiora o te Waipa ko Waiwaia”

“The essence and wellbeing of the Waipa is Waiwaia”.

I commend this Bill to the House.

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