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It’s business as usual ?at lake, says Tuhoe ?iwi of Ruapani ‘rahui’

THE co-owners of Waikaremoana Holiday Park say they do not support a threatened ban on activities at the lake and will carry on as usual.

In the lead-up to having its grievances heard in the Maori Land Court in Wairoa next Tuesday, members of the small Ngati Ruapani iwi said that for four days from tomorrow they would place a rahui “banning all activities” on the lake and adjacent lands.

That has since been downgraded. A spokesman says the ban will only be in one as-yet undisclosed place and will not start until midnight on Sunday.

Both the Tuhoe iwi and the Wairoa-Waikaremoana Trust Board — in which ownership has been vested — say Ruapani does not have the mandate to impose any such restrictions.

Speaking to the Whakatane Beacon, the chairman of Tuhoe’s Te Uru Taumatua governance body said the tribe had not been asked whether it supported a rahui.

“We don’t take that statement as having any substance and we are just carrying on with our business and our work programmes at Waikaremoana,” Tamati Kruger says.

Fish and Game’s eastern regional manager Andy Garrick told the Dominion Post he had been contacted by a concerned angler, seeking advice after booking accommodation at the lake for this weekend.

Fish and Game had notified angling clubs of the rahui and was concerned about potential disruption to lake users, but knew little about what was planned, Mr Garrick said.

Meanwhile, Wairoa District Council tourism manager Jamie-Leigh George said the council’s visitor information centre had been doing what it could to advise tourists of the threatened rahui.

When the planned rahui was announced last week, a Ngati Ruapani spokesman said the iwi wanted its original ownership to the lake and surrounds restored rather than being covered under the Tuhoe Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

Ngati Ruapani kaumatua Tumanako Waiwai said tribal members would “oversee and strictly enforce” the proposed shut-down of activites on and around the lake, Mr Waiwai said.

The group says it plans to hold a meeting on Sunday morning and has invited guests including representatives of the DoC and the Friends Of Te Urewera group.