1 Feb 2013

High hopes for Maori water rights case at Supreme Court

6:33 am on 1 February 2013

A Maori water rights campaigner hopes a Supreme Court appeal hearing on Maori interests in freshwater will put a stop to what he calls the Government paying lip service to tangata whenua.

Two days are set down for the case, which is due to end on Friday.

The Maori Council and a group of Waikato trusts filed the claim. They argue that the Government should recognise Maori interests in freshwater before the Government begins its plan to sell off some state shares in hydro power stations.

The argument has already been heard in the Waitangi Tribunal and the High Court.

Maori Council supporter Roimata Minhinnick of the south Auckland iwi, Ngati Te Ata, wants the Supreme Court to recognise that Maori are guardians of waterways.

He he thinks the notion of Maori kaitiakitanga (guardianship) is legalised lip-service - instead of being embodied and given substance.

Mr Minhinnick said the tikanga needs to be given the life force they deserve in law.