The health and wellbeing of the Waikato River is paramount and must not be plundered to solve Auckland’s latest water crisis, say Waikato-Tainui leaders.
Tribal leaders are planning to outline their concerns to Watercare executives this week.
Te Arataura Chair Rukumoana Schaafhausen says the River is already under stress from over allocation, which is impacting the environment and the people of Waikato-Tainui,
“We are gravely concerned for the mana and wairua (life force) of our awa (river) and need to act now to avert an even bigger crisis for future generations.”
“As kaitiaki (guardians), we have a responsibility to protect and restore the water body.”
“This includes holding central and local government leaders to account for over allocation and to invest in restoration projects.”
Ms Schaafhausen said Auckland’s water problems were not new and required an environmentally sustainable, long-term solution.
“Waikato-Tainui must jointly agree and guide any decisions made in relation to our awa. We need an approach that’s grounded in the knowledge and wisdom of our tuupuna and that protects the interests of our descendants.”
She said Iwi would continue to advocate for the wellbeing of the River which was critical to the cultural and spiritual wellbeing of their people.