31 Oct 2014

Iwi criticises process for water issues

11:01 am on 31 October 2014

Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated says there is little opportunity for iwi to engage effectively with regional councils on water issues.

The site of the proposed dam.

Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated's Jonathan Dick said the process for projects such as the Ruataniwha dam (pictured) could become very challenging and expensive. Photo: RNZ

Jonathan Dick, its director of environment and natural resources, said hapu found themselves involved with a whole series of committees where there were varying levels of genuine intent shown on the part of the councils.

North Island map

Map showing Ngati Kahungunu tribal territory Photo: Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Mr Dick said the difficulty was that while hapu and iwi appeared to have a range of opportunities and rights, there was no real puku, or body of rights, that existed within any pieces of legislation that reflected that.

He said as soon as iwi or hapu had an issue with a particular plan change, such as with the Ruataniwha dam, the process became very challenging and expensive.

Mr Dick said the management and regulation of water rights had been taken over by regional councils under the Resource Management Act.