10 Oct 2012

PM to be reminded about Maori water rights debate

7:17 pm on 10 October 2012

An Eastern Bay of Plenty iwi collective which relates back to the Mataatua canoe, plans to tell the Prime Minister about their rights to water, when he visits Whakatane on Thursday.

John Key is meeting with the Mataatua assembly, Te Hono o Mataatua, at Te Manuka Tutahi Marae on Thursday afternoon.

The collective includes tribes from Tauranga to the East Coast, as well as iwi in and near the Urewera ranges.

The hui is being hosted by Ngati Awa.

Its deputy chair Pouroto Ngaropo says the assembly will present a collective declaration to the Prime Minister, so he knows what relationship the Mataatua tribes have to waterways in the region.

He says the declaration spells out that Mataatua is the authority, which looks after the waterways, and has done so for about 700 years.

Mr Ngaropo says it also talks about the Treaty of Waitangi, which recognises that all New Zealanders have an interest in water.

He says each tribe will be given 10 minutes to question the Prime Minister about matters that are important to them, which could include land confiscation, oil drilling, or the Rena disaster.