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:

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:

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:

For more information please visit the website:

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:

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:

For further information please contact Tui MacDonald on 027 252 7017

2020 Te Puāwaitanga award: Self-determination for Māori through political economy and environmental research

Associate Professor Maria Bargh (Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa) has been presented the Puāwaitanga Award by Royal Society Te Apārangi for making a distinctive contribution to Te Ao Māori through her internationally recognised research on political economy and environment.

Te Puāwaitanga Award:
Te Puāwaitanga is awarded biannually in recognition of research that has made an eminent and distinctive contribution to Te Ao Māori and indigenous knowledge.

Read more here.

Source: Royal Society

Marama Cook to receive 2020 Raewyn Good Study Award

Marama Rose Cook of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi receives this award for Māori and Pasifika social science research, supporting her Master’s degree project: ‘Ngā Ewe Whakawhenua: A Collation of Vital Voices – a Ngāti Awa Perspective’.

Read more here.

Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa welcome new staff

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa welcome eleven new staff at Te Mānuka Tūtahi

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa welcomes eleven new staff today at Te Mānuka Tūtahi Marae. The new staff are a Programme Manager for new projects, and ten staff employed in Korehāhā Whakahau, the first Iwi led Predator Free 2050 project in Aotearoa.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Manahautū Leonie Simpson says “These new positions are our commitment to social, cultural and economic outcomes for Ngāti Awa whānau and the Iwi. The Programme Manager will be responsible for leading our new projects associated with our Provincial Growth Fund projects, and the Korehāhā Whakahau staff will eradicate possums from 4700ha of land within the Ngāti Awa rohe including Whakatāne, Ōhope, and Ōhiwa Harbour”.

Programme Manager, Alieta Waitoa joins Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa to lead a small project team dedicated to delivering a range of new Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa projects funded by the Provincial Growth Fund, including Te Ara Mahi (Workforce Development and a new Technical Training Centre), Army Hall Redevelopment, Water ways protection, and our Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme. Alieta was previously the National Procurement Manager at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa based in Te Awamutu.

The Korehāhā Whakahau staff have either been previously unemployed or lost their jobs through the impacts of Covid-19 and are part of the Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Iwi workforce programme. This programme is building transferable skills, focussed on our values and aspirations. For Korehāhā Whakahau, this is practically implementing kaitiakitanga in our rohe, employing whānau, and growing our collective Iwi capacity and capability. Korehāhā Whakahau will use new trap technology without the use of any toxins.

Korehāhā Whakahau Kaiarahi Simon Harris says “Receiving this job has made my manawa so happy. Hapū of Ngāti Awa have been protecting our whenua as kaitiaki nō muri mai anō; this is a continuation of that work and I am extremely privileged to be paid to be an active kaitiaki”.

Korehāhā Whakahau is funded through Predator Free and Kaimahi for Nature and has created 16 new jobs in total. New staff are descendants of Ngai Taiwhakaea, Ngai Te Rangihouhiri, Ngāti Hokopū, Ngāti Pūkeko, Ngāti Hāmua, Ngai Tamaoki, Ngai Tamapare, Te Pahipoto, Ngāi Tamawera, Ngā Maihi, Ngāti Rangataua, Warahoe, Wharepaia and Ngāti Hikakino.

For enquiries please contact:

Ngāti Awa marae receive renovations funding

Ngāti Awa marae receive renovations funding

A funding application made by twelve Ngāti Awa marae for marae renovations, supported by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, has been successful. The applicants will receive $4.8m to renovate and upgrade their marae facilities. The funding was approved by government prior to the 17 October election.

Alf Morrison, Chair of Uirāroa Marae Trustees said “Being able to upgrade our marae and working for the benefit of our hapū is really great. Employing our people and doing the marae up means our people and our marae get direct instant results”.

The Marae Renovation funding will create employment for Ngāti Awa people and suppliers and local tradesmen and women.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Manahautū Leonie Simpson says “The application was pulled together quickly, and marae were very engaged and responsive. Marae and hapū are very capable of leading development like this, and the funding accelerates their ability to do so”.

The twelve Ngāti Awa marae to receive funding are: Puawairua, Te Hokowhitu a Tu, Pukeko, Uiraroa, Tuteao, Tuariki, Pupuaruhe, Rangataua, Rewatu, Ruaihona, Te Rangihouhiri (Whakatāne and Te Teko) and Motiti island (Ruakopiha and Te Hihi Taua).   Other Ngāti Awa marae to receive funding include Te Whare o Toroa, Te Paroa and Te Mapou.

There are twenty two hapū of Ngāti Awa, and nineteen marae.

For more information:

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.