Ngāti Awa to host one year anniversary event to remember the victims of Whakaari.

Whakaari He Rā Maumahara Anniversary

We can confirm that Te Rūnanga of Ngāti Awa (Ngāti Awa) in co-operation with local and national government will host the official remembrance event to mark the first anniversary of the Whakaari/White Island eruption on 9 December, 2019. The event will take place at Te Mānuka Tūtahi Marae, 105 Muriwai Drive, Whakatāne on the afternoon of Wednesday 9th December, 2020. Exact timing and a programme is still being confirmed.

In planning this event we have been speaking with whānau that were most directly impacted by the tragedy. These include the survivors and the families who lost loved ones. The feedback we have received so far is that some whānau would like to participate in an event whereas others would prefer to observe. We are keeping their wishes at the centre of our planning and working towards a small-scale event that is respectful of the families wishes and at the same time provides an appropriate commemoration for the victims.

We have also decided in the interest of public safety to observe Covid-19 Level 2 restrictions even if  New Zealand is at Level 1. This means that we will limit the numbers inside the Mataatua Wharenui to 50 visitors, and the public gathering to 100 people. We will be encouraging attendees to wear masks or face coverings and will ensure social distancing is observed. We will review this decision as the day approaches ensuring that the health and safety of the public is at the forefront of our decision making.

We appreciate that with international borders likely to be closed overseas survivors and the families of victims are unlikely to be able to attend. To ensure that they can participate virtually, the event will be livestreamed and we are inviting these people to provide pre-recorded video content should they wish to. Ngāti Awa will work with its government partners and the local community to provide a larger and more inclusive commemoration event at a future date when travel is not restricted and when we are confident that that Covid-19 virus does not pose a serious risk.

Detailed plans for the event on 9 December are still being finalised and will be published in due course. In the meantime we would encourage you to check the Ngāti Awa website: where we will providing updates.


For further information please contact Tui McDonald on 027 252 7017.

He taonga te wai – Water is an inherited treasure

Ngāti Awa Iwi and hapū leaders, kaumātua and rangatahi have united at the High Court in Rotorua today to fight a proposal by Creswell New Zealand Limited (Creswell), to extract 1.1 billion litres of water per year from the Awaiti Canal Aquifer in Otakiri for water bottling. Ngāti Awa is progressing this appeal through Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa.

Creswell is a subsidiary of Chinese soft drinks giant Ngonfu Spring, headquartered in Hangzhou, China. Otakiri is a small rural settlement a short distance from Whakatāne and within the Ngāti Awa rohe.

Ngāti Awa first opposed the Creswell proposal in 2018, concerned that the proposal would have irrevocable and negative effects on te mauri o te wai, and that Ngāti Awa would not be able to carry out their roles as kaitiaki for a resource once it has been removed. This argument was summed up by Ngāti Awa pukenga and former Rūnanga Chair Dr. Hohepa Mason when he described it as: “too much water, to be sold, too far away”.

Leonie Simpson, Manahautū (CEO), Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa says: “He taonga te wai – water is an inherited treasure. Once it has been removed from our rohe our wai will never return. As kaitiaki and mana whenua we have a responsibility to act when decisions impact the natural resources within our rohe.

“In relation to the Creswell proposal this amounts to excessive amounts of our taonga being exported offshore and the impact this has on te mauri o te wai and our ability to be kaitiaki.

“We are also concerned about the wider allocation of freshwater rights in Aotearoa. Many of these consents are historical and are being bought up by investors all over New Zealand, who are simply attracted by the very high profits they can make. Allocation just keeps moving without any qualitative assessment on whether this is an appropriate use of water.”

Joe Harawira, Tumuaki (Chairman), Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa says: “We are focused on developing projects and businesses that are sustainable and create long-term meaningful opportunities for our Ngāti Awa people. Creswell plans to take a vital, scarce and precious resource forever.

“The benefits of the water, and the vast majority of the profits, will be enjoyed overseas. We cannot stand by and allow this project to progress unimpeded to the denigration of te mauri o te wai and our role as kaitiaki.”

The Creswell proposal includes plans to develop a manufacturing plant on site in Otakiri with the capacity to produce 1,800 single use plastic bottles per minute. Much of the water is destined to be exported to China, where artisanal New Zealand spring water sells at a premium.

Ngāti Awa are also concerned about water quality within their rohe. Residents of Whakatāne drink water with an E rating, the lowest acceptable level for human consumption in New Zealand, while residents living in Murupara and Kawerau also suffer from a poor-quality drinking water[1]

Ngāti Awa are determined that the views of New Zealanders who are overwhelmingly opposed to water bottling for bulk exports are not ignored. They have recently called upon the Whakatāne District Council and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to back an initiative supporting a moratorium on applications to take water for bulk export and for councils to take a more holistic view of the potential effects of the current industry.

“Successive governments have failed to address the very real issue of water rights in Aotearoa. It is only fair that government work with Iwi and hapū as partners to address the issues of water quality, allocation and broader issues that impact our environment. In a country impacted by severe drought and water shortages it is nothing short of negligent to give this taonga away.

“To allow this project to progress will be a terrible mistake and not lead to positive outcomes for our mokopuna (future generations).” added Leonie Simpson.


For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Bianca Ruakere: 021 453189

Notes to Editors:

Ngāti Awa are the descendants of Te Tini o Toi, the original inhabitants of the Eastern Bay of Plenty region, and the people who arrived on the Mataatua waka. Today Ngāti Awa represent 22 hapū and have 19 marae. For more information please visit the website:

Nongfu Spring is China’s largest supplier of packaged water and ranks as one of the top 20 beverage companies in China. They were founded in 1996 and are headquartered in Hangzhou, Zheijang Province, China. Creswell New Zealand Limited are a subsidiary of Nongfu Spring. For more information please visit the website:

[1] Source: ESR/Drinking Water for New Zealand:

First Iwi-led Predator Free 2050 project gets go ahead

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa has welcomed the announcement and funding of its Korehāhā Whakahau predator eradication project.

Funding was confirmed today by the Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau at Te Mānuka Tūtahi Marae in Whākatane.

The $5.6 million-dollar project will be led and delivered by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa. Initial funders include Predator Free 2050 Limited, providing $2.4m through the Provincial Growth Fund, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Awa Group Holdings and Department of Conservation.

The project will benefit from $2.5 million announced today from the Department of Conservation’s Jobs for Nature programme, which will also support other, yet-to-be announced Ngāti Awa taiao projects.

Korehaha Whakahau initial aim is to get rid of predators, starting with possums, across a 4,700ha area covering Whakatāne and Ōhōpe, benefitting biodiversity and boosting regional development and tourism. Exact boundaries are still being determined at this early stage of the project.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Manahautū, Leonie Simpson, says the project will connect Ngāti Awa people with the taiao, support kaitiakitanga amongst the Iwi and help them to reach their aspirations to care for and restore the taiao.

“This project is our first Iwi workforce development initiative post COVID-19. We will develop a group of kaimahi with transferable skills that not only support their whānau but also enable kaitiakitanga for our hapū and Ngāti Awa now and into the future.

“Our relationships with the taiao will continue beyond the project term and we are aiming for long term outcomes that are intergenerational.”

Ed Chignell Predator Free 2050 Limited Chief Executive says they are excited by the opportunity for new learning as Ngāti Awa brings its knowledge and connections to the Predator Free 2050 kaupapa.

“We will be sharing the latest trapping and detection methodologies to enable the project team to permanently remove possums from the project area and build their capacity in predator control operations.”

The Korehāhā Whakahau project covers both private, public and Ngāti Awa owned land. The funding will enable Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa to employ more people and continue to engage with other landowners to get the operational side of the project underway.

Leonie Simpson says Korehāhā Whakahau is an important part of a kete of mahi that Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa is developing post Whakaari and Covid 19. 

“Our suite of projects, which we have called POUA, encompasses existing and future projects like Kāinga (a new visitor hub at the Whakatāne Army Hall), a new commercial boat harbour led by a Ngāti Awa Lands Trust, riverside revitalisation and other taiao projects. POUA represents, Pou whenua (foundation posts) which signify our commitment to our rohe, our people and our future.

New POUA projects will be announced in the coming months as they are approved.”

Korehāhā Whakahau is the first iwi led ‘path finder’ project to receive Predator Free 2050 Limited funding.

For more information contact:

Michal Akurangi, Taiao Manager at Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa,

Tim Higham, Predator Free 2050 Limited Communication and Business Support Manager,

For more information about Predator Free 2050 Limited and its current projects see

Treaty of Waitangi Commemoration

Treaty o Waitangi Kauhau/Treaty of Waitangi Lectures

Held in collaboration with Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

Commemorating the Treaty Waitangi signed 16 June 1840

Ngā mokamoka whakahaere/Proceedings for the day for 16 June 2020

10.30 AMKōrero Timata/Opening RemarksAhorangi/Professor Wiremu Doherty
10.40 AMKaikōrero Whakaohooho Guest Lecturer Patapātai – QuestionsTe Kei Merito
11.00 AMKaikōrero Whakaohooho Guest speaker/s Pātapātai – QuestionsRangatahi Kaikōrero
11.20 AMKaikōrero Whakaohooho Guest Lecturer Patapātai – QuestionsJudge Layne Harvey
12.00 PMKaikōrero Whakaohooho Guest Lecturer Patapātai – QuestionsAhorangi/Professor Linda Smith ‘Ngāti Awa Futurities – How do we ensure that we flourish far far into the future’
12.50 PMKōrero Whakamutunga/Concluding CommentsAhorangi/Professor Wiremu Doherty
01.00 PMKai o te Poupoutanga o te Rā – LUNCH

Held at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

13 Domain Road, Whakatāne, 07 3071467

Ngāti Awa Rangatahi Hui #2

Wednesday June 3 2020 7pm

After an awesome, thought-provoking and inspiring discussion the other week, this next hui will continue on the momentum of positive connection and kōrero between the rangatahi of Ngāti Awa. The focus of this next wānanga will be considering the role of rangatahi in whānau, hapū, marae, and iwi, looking further at what positive rangatahi engagement looks like.

We will also be hearing from Leonie Simpson (TRoNA CEO) to learn more about the role of the rūnanga and the current challenges to iwi governance. These hui are open to all rangatahi of Ngāti Awa! Nau mai hara mai.

You can join Ngāti Awa Rangatahi FB page to find more information or to continue receiving comms. 

Moving to Alert Level 2

The Government has announced New Zealand will move from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 at 11.59pm on Wednesday 13 May. Until then we are still in Alert Level 3.

Temporary limits on gathering numbers will be in place when we first move to Alert Level 2.

Cabinet will review Alert Level 2 restrictions on Monday 25 May.

Ngāti Awa Rangatahi

Over the last few months a group of Ngāti Awa rangatahi have been meeting to connect and to share kōrero. Now, as we move towards recovery in a Post-Covid19 era, another hui is taking place this Wednesday at 7pm. We’re KEEN to whakawhanaunga with our ahi kā (locals) and ahi teretere (uri who live away) and put our collective minds together to see what Ngāti Awa CAN look like moving forward post lockdown.

This is an initiative for rangatahi by rangatahi, to deepen our relationships and make rangatahi participation in iwi kaupapa accessible. 

For any and all rangatahi interested in participating in this kōrero we encourage and welcome you to join the ‘Zānanga’ on Wednesday to share your whakaaro or listen in. Nā reira nau mai haere mai! 

Changes to two Eastern Bay COVID-19 assessment centres opening days and times

There have been changes to the opening times of two of the Eastern Bay’s fixed site COVID-19 assessment centres.

The changes relate to the Whakatāne assessment centre’s Saturday opening times, whilst the Ōpōtiki centre (which was formerly operating on a Tuesday and Thursday) will move to Thursday and Saturday opening starting on Thursday 7 May. The opening times for the Kawerau assessment centre remain the same.

The opening times for all three fixed site Community Based Assessment Centres (CBACs) are:

Whakatāne (at Whakatāne War Memorial Hall)

Monday-Saturday                 9am-12.30pm

Sunday                                  Closed

Ōpōtiki (at Ōpōtiki Senior Citizens Hall) – starting Thursday 7 May

Thursdays and Saturdays     10am-2pm

Kawerau (at the Ron Hardie Recreation Centre Car Park)

Tuesdays and Thursdays      10am-2pm

Those attending the assessment centres are asked to note that, depending upon patient numbers, there can be a wait to be seen. Please be advised:

  • Please be prepared to wait, the process can take up to 30 minutes per person
  • If there are cars ahead of you, you can be waiting for over an hour. Patients are advised to be prepared for this and to bring water and snacks with them
  • You will need to remain in your vehicle at all times

All patients with the following symptoms are eligible to be seen at the drive-through assessment centres:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny Nose

All symptoms can be with or without fever. If you have your NHI number, please bring this with you. If you are unsure if you meet the eligibility, please call your General Practice or Healthline for advice.

Bay of Plenty Community Based Health Services Lead Dr Joe Bourne said hours at the CBACs would continue to change according to demand.

“Following on from previous statements made when we see, or anticipate, changes in demand we will increase or reduce our capacity to suit. We want these services to be as accessible as possible for our community, whilst also making best use of our resources.

“Depending on what’s happening within our communities as we move forward we will continue to flex with demand and amend opening hours accordingly. I would like to say that we’re really grateful to the community for their understanding with this approach.”

For the latest information on CBACs opening times please go to:

For more details contact:

James Fuller

Communications Advisor – Bay of Plenty District Health Board

DDI: 07 579 8411

Mobile: 027 839 1791