The Waikato District Council has signed an MOU with Ngati Hauaa Iwi Trust as part of a wider goal to recognise tangata whenua and develop and maintain iwi relationships so it can be responsive to the interests of Maaori in its community.
Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson says the MOU is the second one to be signed with local iwi, the first being with Ngaa Uri o Maahanga in 2012. A third MOU with Mai Uenuku ki te Whenua Trust is in the pipeline.
Ngati Hauaa Iwi is part of Waikato-Tainui with a principal rohe (area of interest) that spreads across Waikato District’s southern wards of Tamahere and Eureka, and the southwestern parts of Hukanui-Waerenga.
Ngati Hauaa Iwi Trust Chairman Mokoro Gillett says, “This is an important step forward in our relationship with Waikato District Council recognising our interest in the area where we have always held and continue to hold mana whenua, cultural authority.”
Mayor Sanson says, “The MOU recognises the importance of developing close relationships with Ngati Hauaa. It allows for a regular annual meeting to discuss matters of mutual interest, but in reality we expect there will be opportunities to consult more regularly, for example on proposed plan changes to the operative District Plan as well as on the District Plan Review.”
Mayor Sanson says that agreements like this, together with the JMA’s the Council have with Waikato-Tainui for the Waikato River and the Maniapoto Maaori Trust Board for the Waipaa River, assist Council to ensure that engagement with Mana Whenua is consistent and progressive.
“We are always looking for ways to improve our partnerships with our community partners” says Mayor Sanson.
Photo: Ngati Hauaa Iwi Trust Chairman Mokoro Gillett (left) and Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson after the signing of the MOU.