Te Ao Māori


Iwi calls on Govt to commit to forestry report recommendations

Wed, May 17

Immediate action is needed to address unsustainable forestry practices that have put an iwi's lands and waterways at risk, they say.

The Tairāwhiti iwi Ngāti Porou has asked the Government to commit to recommendations made in a report that is the result of an independent ministerial inquiry into forestry slash, woody debris and sediment on the North Island's East Coast

The report Outrage to Optimism report warned there were only five to 10 years to turn the situation around, with Ngāti Porou at risk of becoming "homeless and landless".

Te Runanga Nui o Ngati Porou chairman Selwyn Parata said the report panel had heard the people.

"We're ecstatic about the report; the panel has listened to our people and formed recommendations that balance the needs of the taiao (environment), our land, our people and our regional economy."

In relation to whenua Māori the report recommended the Government agree to partner with whenua Māori landowners for a suite of investment-ready development projects and to provide capital for a proof-of-concept co-investment arrangement.

Parata said Ngāti Porou looked forward to partnering with government, land owners, industry leaders and iwi members to implement an integrated approach.

But the report's recommendations would require a long-term commitment from the Government, he said.

"We are asking for immediate action in our waterways. Failure to act is not an option when the security, safety and well-being of the whenua, our waterways, and our people are at stake."

Heading into winter, all the region needed was another heavy rain, and it would be back to square one, Parata said.

The report provided a challenge to all parties in Te Tairāwhiti, including Ngāti Porou, to do what was right before there was any further damage to the whenua, he said.

"We are the land owners, we are the farmers, we are the foresters, and above all, we are the kaitiaki. That, in our opinion, is our unique point of difference, and we have a duty of care ourselves for our homeland, our oceans and our environment."

By Pokere Paewai for RNZ