Māori in Northern Hawke's Bay say the signing on Saturday of an agreement at Tuahara marae on Mahia Peninsula marks a new beginning for the people of Rongomaiwāhine.
The Memorandum of Understanding was being signed by Wairoa District Council, Hawke's Bay Regional Council, trustees from four marae and landowners of the Whangawehi River catchment.
The agreement is to ensure the protection and enhancement of the river and its catchment area.
Tuahuru Marae spokesperson Kathleen Mako says the Memorandum of Understanding is a partnership and means all signatories have to take responsibility for the river's future.
She says having guaranteed protection of the river is significant as it is their sacred awa and is important for customary and freshwater fisheries.