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Reconnecting with whenua

Agreement brings iwi and DoC together

Rongomaiwahine Iwi Trust and the Department of Conservation have agreed to formalise a co-management arrangement for all DoC reserves on Mahia Peninsula.

Working through a co-management plan for Mahia Peninsula Scenic Reserve is the first step.

The agreement will mean all decisions about management of the reserves will be made jointly between the iwi and DoC.

The initial focus of the partnership will involve the management, vision and direction of the reserve.

The two entities have worked closely together over the last two years with the Predator Free 2050-funded Whakatipu Mahia project.

There are six full-time employees involved with the Whakatipu Mahia project.

Both the iwi and DoC see the new co-management arrangement as the culmination of this two-year working relationship.

Mo Rongo, chief executive of Rongomaiwahine Iwi Trust and trustee of Whakatipu Mahia, is confident this new arrangement will lead to more employment opportunities for the iwi in the near future.

“More importantly, this is about mana motuhake of our iwi, hapu and marae,” he said.

“It also adds to our capacity as an iwi and will enhance our journey of reconnection as Rongomaiwahine to our whenua.”

The arrangement allows for any Rongomaiwahine hapu, marae or whanau with special interests in the reserves to be included in the mahi, Mr Rongo said.

East Coast DoC operations manager, John Lucas, said the local DoC team are looking forward to continuing to work together.

“Supporting Rongomaiwahine whanau and hapu to reconnect to their whenua and tell their story as kaitiaki (caretakers) is a central part of what we do.

“Formalising this way of working with Rongomaiwahine is very rewarding and the development of a co-management plan for Mahia Peninsula Scenic Reserve is the first step,” said Mr Lucas.

— Wairoa Star

Eco-agreement: Rongomaiwahine Iwi Trust and DoC have worked through a co-management plan for Mahia Peninsula Scenic Reserve. The agreement will mean that all decisions regarding the management of the reserve will be made jointly between iwi and DoC. Pictures supplied