Judicial Review Judgement – Lysaght & Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa v Whakatāne District Council

Judicial Review Judgement – Lysaght & Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa v Whakatāne District Council


Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa is pleased with the High Court judgment, that sets aside the Whakatāne District Council’s decision to grant a non-notified consent to build an unmanned petrol station on the outskirts of Whakatāne, opposite The Hub.

It is now up to Whakatāne District Council to reconsider its non-notification decision, having regard to the matters raised in the Court’s decision, including pedestrian safety. Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa acknowledge the Ngāti Awa whānau and hapū members who supported this judicial review.

The full judgement is online here: https://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/assets/cases/2021/2021-NZHC-68.pdf

COVID-19 Response Update – Latest cases in Tāmaki

As of 11:59pm, Sunday 14 February, Auckland will move to Alert Level 3 and the rest of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2 until midnight, Wednesday 17 February.

Be vigilant, wash your hands, stay home if you are unwell, and sign in everywhere you go using the Covid Tracer App. While we wait for more information, kia noho haumaru – stay safe and ensure you keep informed.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa office remains open. However we will be following business guidelines for Level 2:

Whānau living elsewhere in Aotearoa – Alert Level 2

  • Whānau can still go to work if they aren’t māuiui.
  • Kura, kōhanga, schools, and day-care remain open.
  • Hui and gatherings are now restricted to 100 people.
  • Travel into Tāmaki is now restricted.
  • Whānau are asked to check out the locations of interest here to see if they need to stay home and get tested.

More information on Alert Level 2 can be found here.

Remember our tikanga hauora
Regardless of where you are in the motu, kia mau ki ā tātou tikanga hauora, remember our tikanga hauora to keep our whânau safe:

  1. If you are māuiui, stay at home. Call Healthline or your GP to check whether you need to get tested.  
  2. Keep track of where you’ve been – scan QR codes using the NZ COVID Tracer app and enable Bluetooth tracing on your device. Check that you have Bluetooth tracing enabled on the dashboard of the NZ COVID Tracer app. If you don’t, turn it on now. If you can’t use the app, download or request a COVID Tracer booklet, keep a calendar or diary.
  3. Practice good hygiene – wash your hands regularly, cough and sneeze into your elbow.
  4. Regularly clean high touch surfaces.
  5. Most importantly, be kind to one another.


For more information on COVID-19 and the latest cases, visit the Ministry of Health website or the Unite Against COVID website.

Ngā Tapu Wae o Nehe

Ngā Tapu Wae o Nehe: Capturing the stories of the past!


Nau mai, haere mai ki Ngā Tapu Wae o Nehe! A kaupapa based on collective historic korero around the Edgecumbe area.

Ngāti Awa files application with the Court of Appeal to hear water bottling appeal

Ngāti Awa files application with the Court of Appeal to hear water bottling appeal


Ngāti Awa has today filed an application in the Court of Appeal for leave to appeal the High Court judgment dismissing Ngati Awa’s appeal from the Environment Court.  The Environment Court majority’s decision was to grant Creswell New Zealand Limited (Creswell), the right to extract 1.1 million cubic metres of water annually from the Otākiri aquifer, for water bottling.  Ngāti Awa is progressing this application for leave to 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, that Ngāti Awa would not be able to carry out their roles as kaitiaki and that the proposal was inconsistent with the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 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.

“We are also concerned about the wider allocation of freshwater rights in Aotearoa. Successive governments have failed to address the very real issue of water rights in New Zealand. It is only fair that government work with Māori 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 resource away.”

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 (including our recent jobs for nature). Creswell plans to take a vital, scarce and precious resource forever.

“The mauri of our wai is harmed through Creswell’s application.  The Government must address water rights in this country. Why are we exporting our purest water when our own people living in Whakatāne, Murupara and Kawerau drink water of the lowest acceptable quality for human consumption? Why are we giving our water away for free to overseas companies whose shareholders will be the main beneficiaries?  And why are we supporting a proposal to build a manufacturing plant with the capacity to create 1,800 single use plastic bottles per minute?”

“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


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: https://www.ngatiawa.iwi.nz/

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: https://www.nongfuspring.com/

Ngāti Awa disappointed with High Court ruling on water bottling

Ngāti Awa disappointed with High Court ruling on water bottling


Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa (Ngāti Awa), are disappointed with the High Court’s decision to uphold the Environment Court’s earlier decision to allow Creswell New Zealand Limited (Creswell), a subsidiary of Chinese soft drinks giant Nongfu Spring, to extract 1.1 billion litres of water annually from the Otākiri aquifer in the Awaiti Canal Aquifer groundwater catchment, largely for export.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa (Ngāti Awa), the post settlement governance entity for the Ngāti Awa, has opposed the consent since the application was lodged by Creswell.  It filed an appeal against the Environment Court’s decision to the High Court that was heard in July this year. 

Ngāti Awa argued that the bottling of water from Otākiri would have irrevocable and negative effects on te mauri o te wai – the life force of the water – and render Ngāti Awa unable to be kaitiaki.

Leonie Simpson, Manahautū (CEO), Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa says: “It is impossible for us to act as kaitiaki for a resource once it has gone. Once this water is removed from our rohe it will never return.”

Joe Harawira, Tumuaki (Chairman), Ngāti Awa says: “The mauri of our wai is harmed through Creswell’s application.  Successive governments have also failed to address the very real issue of water rights in New Zealand. Why are we exporting our purest water when our own people living in Whakatāne, Murupara and Kawerau drink water of the lowest acceptable quality for human consumption? Why are we giving our water away for free to overseas companies whose shareholders will be the main beneficiaries?  And why are we supporting a proposal to build a manufacturing plant with the capacity to create 1,800 single use plastic bottles per minute?”

Ngāti Awa are considering their options following the judgment.


For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Bianca Ruakere: 021 453189


Ngāti Awa
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: https://www.ngatiawa.iwi.nz/

Nongfu Spring
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. A recent sale of shares in Nongfu Spring was the most oversubscribed IPO in Hong Kong’s history and raised more than US$1.1 billion in cash. The company owner Zhong Shanshan briefly became China’s richest man with a personal net worth of around US$57 billion: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/24/founder-of-bottled-water-nongfu-spring-becomes-chinas-richest-man.html

Nongfu Spring sell around 15 billion bottles of water a year.  Discarded bottles from Nongfu Spring brands are routinely found polluting oceans and shores around the globe: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8633499/Blue-Planets-creators-millions-adverts-plastic-bottles-clog-oceans.html

For more information please visit the website: https://www.nongfuspring.com/

Update on Whakaari – He Rā Whakamaumaharatanga

Update on Whakaari – He Rā Whakamaumaharatanga


One year on from the 2019 Whakaari eruption, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa with support from Māori Television will remember the lives lost and acknowledge the efforts of many during the tragedy.

Special iwi commemorations will be held on December 9 in Whakatāne at Te Mānuka Tutahi Marae and will observe the exact moment of the eruption at 2.11pm on 9 December 2019.

This remembrance service will be held under COVID-19 Level 2 protocols, reducing the number of guests to ensure the continued safety of all. 

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Tumuaki (Chairman) Joe Harawira said the decision to limit numbers had been difficult given the healing needed for many.  The safety of survivors and injured, families and kaumatua as well as the wider community, however, had to be paramount.

“We knew that safety at this time would limit the number of people who could physically attend.  But we also needed to protect those who remain without compromise,” he said.

“First and foremost, the gathering Whakaari – He Rā Whakamaumaharatanga is for the individuals and families most affected by the tragedy. We have also extended invitations to certain government and consular representatives, together with delegates of groups and organisations who were involved in the emergency response.”

Mr Harawira said Ngāti Awa wanted to ensure that local, national and international communities could still observe December 9 with them.

As a result, New Zealand’s indigenous public broadcaster, Māori Television, will broadcast the commemorations live across its multiple platforms, television and online. 

Māori Television’s Tāhuhu Rangapū, Shane Taurima, said it was a sobering privilege and responsibility.

“We hope our broadcast will give many at home and across the world the opportunity to remember in their own way.  It may be in the privacy of their homes, at work, as a gathering or as an individual.  No matter where whānau or loved ones are, they can be part of this unique observance with Ngāti Awa and with Aotearoa, New Zealand.”

The Whakatāne District Council is also helping to facilitate public commemorations at Mātaatua Reserve from 11.30am with National Primary School Kapa Haka Winners, Te Kura o Te Pāroa and Ngāti Awa Pakeke.

We encourage anyone attending to bring their own refreshments and to note that this commemoration is a family-friendly event. Māori Television’s live broadcast of the remembrance service at Te Mānuka Tutahi Marae in Whakatāne will be from 1.00pm to 2.30pm.  It will be simulcast live to the Mataatua Reserve big screen or can be viewed at: 

https://www.maoritelevision.com/shows/whakaari-he-ra-whakamaumaharatanga

The broadcast can also be viewed on Freeview Ch5 and Sky Ch19. Ngāti Awa plan to host a larger and more inclusive event at a future date when international borders are open and affected overseas families will be have the ability to attend.


For further information please contact Tui MacDonald on 027 252 7017

WorkSafe Investigation Update

WorkSafe Investigation Update


Statement from Paul Quinn, Chairman of White Island Tours Limited

On 9 December, 2019 Whakaari/White Island erupted claiming the lives of 22 people and causing serious injuries to a further 22. At the time we expressed our heartfelt condolences to the families in New Zealand and abroad that lost their loved ones and we continue to include them in our prayers. Similarly to the survivors we continue to offer our love and support.

On the first anniversary of this tragic day we will come together as a community to mourn the victims and pay our respects.

Following the tragedy WorkSafe, New Zealand’s health and safety regulator, opened an investigation into issues arising from tours to Whakaari. This investigation has now concluded with details published on the WorkSafe website.

White Island Tours Ltd has been charged with two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act. No employees or directors of the company have been charged. As the legal process is ongoing we will not be making any further comment at this time.


For any media enquiries, please contact Bianca Ruakere on 021 453 189

Update on plans for Whakaari He Rā Maumahara Anniversary

Update on plans for Whakaari He Rā Maumahara Anniversary


As we move towards the first anniversary of the Whakaari eruption, plans are well underway for the remembrance event being hosted by Ngāti Awa at Te Mānuka Tūtahi Marae in Whakatāne.

Although the programme is yet to be finalised we can confirm that the event will take place from 1pm on Wednesday 9th December, 2020 at the Mataatua Wharenui. A minute’s silence will be observed at 2.11pm and the event will conclude around 2.30pm.

The ceremony will be a small-scale gathering for families most affected by the tragedy, invited representatives of emergency responder groups and envoys of overseas families unable to travel.  

Level 2 Covid restrictions will be observed on the Marae as a precautionary measure to protect our kaumatua and the immune compromised. The event will be televised by Māori Television and livestreamed via the internet in New Zealand and abroad to include those who would like to observe the anniversary.

A public event supported by Whakatāne District Council will take place at the Mataatua Reserve from 11.30am. This is for anyone who would like to pay their respects to the lost and injured and take time to reflect. A large screen will livestream the ceremony happening inside the Wharenui from 1pm. We encourage anyone attending to bring their own refreshments and as this is a family-friendly event we respectfully ask that people do not bring alcohol. More details of the public gathering will be shared in due course.

We are also encouraging organisations and community groups to take the opportunity to gather in whanaungatanga in their own ‘hubs’ to view the broadcast. More information will be published about these locations later this month.

Ngāti Awa plan to host a larger and more inclusive event at a future date when international borders are open and affected overseas families will be able to join us.

Further updates will be provided later this month on the Ngāti Awa website: https://www.ngatiawa.iwi.nz/


For further information please contact Tui MacDonald on 027 252 7017