Ngāti Awa Rāhui update

Status: For immediate release

Date: 18 December 2019

Subject:Ngāti Awa Rāhui Update

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa advises the rāhui (temporary ritual prohibition) placed over the Ngāti Awa customary coastal marine area for fishing and gathering kaimoana (seafood) remains in place until further notice.

A total rāhui (gathering kaimoana, fishing and maritime activities) was applied by Ngāti Awa kaumātua last week out of respect for those who perished in last Monday’s Whakaari tragedy, and those who were unaccounted for and could be in the ocean.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Chair and Ngāti Awa cultural expert Dr Hohepa Mason says because two victims are still unaccounted for and are possibly in the ocean the rāhui on fishing and gathering kaimoana remains.

“Out of continued respect for those yet to be returned to their loved ones, and the cultural implications around the likely presence of tūpāpaku (deceased) in the moana (ocean), the Ngāti Awa rāhui in our rohe (Ngāti Awa tribal boundary) on collecting kaimoana and fishing will remain in place until further notice”.

Other maritime activities (swimming, kayaking and boating) not related to kaimoana gathering and fishing would be permissible after 11am on Friday 20 December.

There is no change to the rāhui status of Te Puia Whakaari (Whakaari/White Island), with Dr Mason stressing the island remains completely out of bounds. “Whakaari remains under rāhui and should be respectfully avoided at this time”.

Dr Mason says Ngāti Awa acknowledge that while this is a traditional time of the year for fishing and gathering kaimoana (seafood), the iwi (tribe) respectfully ask for the continued adherence to the kaimoana rāhui in the rohe of Ngāti Awa and the rāhui over Whakaari.

“The general public and manuhiri (visitors) have been very respectful of our rāhui and we appreciate their dedicated observance of this Ngāti Awa tikanga”.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa will make further updates on the rāhui if there are any changes to the current situation.



– The Ngāti Awa kaimoana gathering and fishing rāhui remains in place until further notice

– Although the taking of any seafood – including fish – from anywhere within the Ngāti Awa rāhui boundary remains prohibited until further notice,  activities not related to the harvesting of seafood – including swimming, kayaking and boating – will be permissible from 11am Friday 20 December.

-Te Puia Whakaari (Whakaari/White Island), remains under strict rāhui and should be respectfully avoided.

-The boundary of the Ngāti Awa kaimoana and fishing rāhui is from the Tarawera River in the west, to Ōhiwa in the east and includes Te Puia Whakaari,   Rurima and Moutohorā Islands.

-Neighbouring coastal hapū and iwi have also applied their own rāhui over their own customary marine areas. Those iwi will be responsible for   administering their rāhui.

-Ngāti Awa are grateful for the respect that has been afforded to the rāhui to date.


William Stewart

Mauriora Marketing and PR Ltd
(021) 220 8015

PM pays tribute to Ngāti Awa

Status: For immediate release

Date: 13 December 2019

Subject: PM pays tribute to Ngāti Awa 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has acknowledged Ngāti Awa for their role as tangata whenua (people of the land) in leading and caring for affected whānau (family members), following the Whakaari / White Island eruption and recovery operation earlier today.

Ngāti Awa kaumātua (elder) Joe Harawira says it is the responsibility and privilege as tangata whenua (people of the land), to support the families and our guests during this difficult time.

“Protocols determine our behaviour as a people and one of those is to show absolute respect to affected whānau (families).  This is a time for us to come together and wrap around all of those who have been affected by this tragedy.”

Ngāti Awa kaumātua led a visit to Whakaari / White Island for family members of those who remained on the island, accompanied by members of NZ Police, the NZ Defence Force and Australian High Commission before the recovery operation officially started.

Twenty-eight passengers, including some family members of those remaining on the island and four crew members, gathered for karakia (prayer) on the wharf before heading out just at 4.30am this morning.

As the group made their way out towards the island, the NZ Police launch ‘Deodar’ acknowledged family members by flashing their lights, before escorting them towards the island.

Once positioned, at a safe distance off the coast of Whakaari, further karakia were offered and family members were given an opportunity to say a few words.  After some quiet reflection time together, the group made its way back.

“This was about providing an opportunity for family to acknowledge their loved ones and share in their grief,” says Joe.

The recovery operation is ongoing and Ngāti Awa remain closely involved to ensure all related activity is consistent with ngā tikanga o Ngāti Awa (the customs of Ngāti Awa).


For media enquiries please contact:

Diane Berghan 021 221 5332

Ngāti Awa Rāhui

Status: For immediate release

Date: 12 December 2019

Subject: Ngāti Awa Rāhui

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Te Tapatoru a Toi Joint Management Committee request people to respect a rāhui (temporary ritual prohibition) placed over the tribe’s customary coastal boundaries as a result of the eruption at Whakaari / White Island.

The rāhui encompasses the Whakatāne, Ōhope and Ōhiwa coastlines, and Rurima, Moutohora and Te Puia ō Whakaari islands

Ngāti Awa rangatira Te Kei Merito says that while most Māori understand the purpose of a rāhui and naturally adhere to it, it is also important to convey the ethos of rāhui to the wider community so they might be more inclined to respect the prohibitive nature of the custom.

“There are a number of reasons to place a rāhui, and in this case the purpose is to acknowledge the fact that multiple people have already lost their lives as a result of the eruption. The application of rāhui in this instance is very much a sign of respect to those who lost their lives, and to their families;

“It is a very Māori – and in this case a very Ngāti Awa – way of expressing respect, sympathy and aroha in harrowing times such as these”

Neighbouring iwi, including Te Whakatōhea and Te Whānau a Apanui, have also placed rāhui over their customary coastal areas. This effectively represents a customary prohibition on all maritime activities for the whole of the Eastern Bay of Plenty coast. Mr Merito says he hopes the mana of the rāhui – and the iwi who have placed them  – will be respected.

“We would like to acknowledge our fellow iwi of the Mataatua confederation that have joined us in our efforts to apply tikanga Māori to this devastating situation, out of respect and reverence to all who are hurting as a result of this catastrophic tragedy. We implore people to venerate our rāhui, out of respect for the victims.”

The rāhui will be temporarily lifted to accommodate the eventual recovery operation from Whakaari. It has been confirmed that a Ngāti Awa tohunga – most likely Mr Merito – will accompany the recovery team to the island to conduct the necessary cultural imperatives and provide spiritual support to the recovery team


For media enquiries please contact:

Diane Berghan 021 221 5332

Statement from Paul Quinn, Chair of White Island Tours Limited

Status: For immediate release

Date: 11 December 2019

Statement from Paul Quinn, Chair of White Island Tours Limited:

“First and foremost, we would like to express our sorrow and offer condolences to those who have lost their loved ones following the eruption on Whakaari / White Island on Monday.

At this stage, recovery of loved ones who are still on the island is of paramount concern and all of our resources including vessels, protection equipment and personnel have been made available to NZ Police and Civil Defence to support the recovery mission.

For Ngāti Awa (tangata whenua of Whakatāne) our responsibility to provide care for our people and visitors during this difficult time is foremost in our minds and actions. We are focussed on wrapping the necessary support around affected families and staff, all of whom are understandably distraught.

Karakia (prayer) services are being held daily to give staff and affected families an opportunity to come together in our grief.

Local liaisons are being appointed to support overseas families who are arriving in Whakatāne. Support packages are being put together today including practical and useful items for those families as they await news and updates on the recovery mission.

We are committed to facilitating family members’ travel and other arrangements while we all await the return of loved ones to their families.

We would like to acknowledge the numerous offers of support from our community and also wider Iwi from across the country.

Ka nui te mihi ki a koutou katoa.

There are many questions that are left to be answered but our priority at this time is on the welfare of those affected.”

Paul Quinn.



For media enquiries please contact:

Diane Berghan 021 221 5332

Whakaari/White Island Emergency

Status: For immediate release Date: 9 December 2019

Subject: Whakaari/White Island Emergency

White Island Tours Limited, are deeply saddened following the significant eruption at Whakaari / White Island this afternoon.

Paul Quinn, Chairman for White Island Tours says, “Devastation is an understatement. This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been impacted.”

White Island Tours Limited are currently assisting Police and Civil Defence with the official emergency response.

“We acknowledge the considerable efforts from Police and Civil Defence and will continue to do whatever is necessary throughout the rescue operation, says Paul.

Our immediate focus is on supporting our staff, manuhiri and respective whānau, who have been significantly impacted and are showing immense strength and courage.”


For media enquiries please contact:

Diane Berghan 021 221 5332

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa lodge appeal on water consent

For Immediate Release
Date: 04 July 2018
Subject: Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa lodge appeal on water consent

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa has lodged an appeal in the Environment Court opposing the consents granted to Creswell NZ Ltd to extract 1.1 billion litres of water per annum for water bottling.
This extraction is from the Awaiti aquifer in the Rangitāiki and Tarawera rivers catchments, and in the rohe of Ngāti Awa. There are three existing water bottling consents taking water from the Awaiti aquifer, held by Otākiri Springs, Oravida and Distinction water bottling companies.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa is appealing the whole consent for the following reasons, specifically that the Commissioner’s:
• Concluded that there are no adverse effects on the Awaiti aquifer;
• Concluded that there are no adverse cultural effects;
• Had a lack of regard to Ngāti Awa relationships with Tarawera river, Awaiti aquifer and Otākiri springs;
• Had a lack of regard for the Mataatua Declaration on Water which is an iwi planning document.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa is seeking:
• That the consents be declined;
• If the consents are granted, that appropriate conditions are developed with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa to address the adverse effects Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa has identified.
Leonie Simpson, CEO Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa says “The Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Board which represents 22 hapū of Ngāti Awa unanimously support the appeal because they are seriously concerned about the irreversible harm to this aquifer, the people and the land, and the undermining of our status as kaitiaki and tangata whenua”.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa remain concerned about the current consent regime where Regional Council is continuing to grant consents for water bottling despite no regulations existing, and standards and limits for water quality and quantity are still being developed in the Rangitāiki catchment.
While this consenting regime is outside of the grounds Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa can appeal, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, and Ngāti Awa hapū will continue to advocate for a consent regime that recognises and provides for hapū and iwi interests in freshwater, that complies with legislation, and Council policies.
The Land and Water Forum Report to Ministers released in May 2018 recommends that the government “move quickly…to resolve iwi rights and interests and create a long-term framework”. Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa support this recommendation and are seeking to progress discussions with the Crown as a Treaty partner and tangata whenua.
“The ability for Nongfu to purchase this water bottling operation has been enabled by the government, despite iwi, hapū and community opposition. At every turn, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa has had to advocate for transparency and accountability by local and central government, namely making the consent hearing public, and the participation of hapū, iwi and community in decisions that affect us” says Ms Simpson.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa invites submitters to the Creswell NZ Ltd consents to consider joining our appeal as a section 274 interested party. Enquiries on that matter can be directed to Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Manager Strategy and Policy, Ms Beverley Hughes at

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa was established under the Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Act 2005.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa submissions at the consent hearing, cultural effects assessment and evidence opposed the consent applications expressing concern for:
•Water quality in the aquifer
•Water quantity in the aquifer
•Potential adverse environmental effects, including the cumulative effects of water takefrom the groundwater system and any adverse effects on surface water bodies including Tarawera River, Awaiti Aquifer, the overall groundwater system to which the aquifer connects and wetlands, waahi tapu and waahi taonga of significance to Ngāti Awa
•The values and interests of tangata whenua in freshwater and its management
Creswell Ltd, on behalf of Nongfu Springs Ltd, applied for and has been granted consent to take water for water bottling purposes at 57 Johnson Road, Otakiri. The owners of Otākiri Springs Ltd currently run a water bottling plant and a kiwifruit orchard which uses water for frost protection and irrigation.
Creswell proposes to purchase the land, disestablish the kiwifruit orchard, expand the water bottling plant and use that water and significant further volumes for water bottling purposes only.
Leonie Simpson
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa
07 307 0760

Ngāti Awa Partner with Te Arawa Group and Rotoma No.1


Date: 26 June 2018

Subject: Ngāti Awa Partner with Te Arawa Group and Rotoma No.1 to Acquire 100 ha of Kiwifruit

Ngāti Awa Group Holdings, Te Arawa Group Holdings and Rotoma No 1 Incorporation today announced they have successfully acquired the Matai Pacific group of kiwifruit orchards, comprising of almost 100 canopy hectares.
The three orchards – Te Matai Orchard; Pacific Gold Orchard and Coachman Orchard – are located in Te Puke.
The orchards will now be operated by a new Māori-owned joint-venture called Matai Pacific Iwi Collective. These orchards have been owned by overseas interests for the past 17 years.
Ngāti Awa Group Holdings Chair Paul Quinn says Matai Pacific fitted NAGHL’s target profile for investment. “It is a mature business, with strong cash-flows, a good management team and able to operate independently without too much effort. The kiwifruit sector has good forecast growth potential, while these orchards contain further development opportunities that we may wish to realise in the future.”
“The orchards will contribute solidly to Ngāti Awa’a financial sustainability, enabling us to better support hapū aspirations.”
There are no plans to make any immediate changes to the three separate orchards. However medium term prospects for the orchards include further conversion of green to gold, expansion of the canopy coverage area, and development of new varieties for export markets.
Expanding our production will create opportunities for long-term job growth for our people. Furthermore the scale of the orchards gives the Collective more flexibility for year round employment, rather than short term seasonal pickers.
“Like our two partners, we see this as an intergenerational investment. The decisions we make now are for future generations. This has the potential to create a legacy” said Dr Joe
Mason, Chair, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa. “Alongside our partners we will be a major player in
the Kiwifruit industry.”
The co-investment with Te Arawa Group and Rotoma leverages the different strengths of the three iwi. Te Arawa Group Holdings already has nearly ten years’ experience in the kiwifruit industry, while Rotoma have been seeking investments with good income distribution potential. Ngāti Awa have provided capital, investment and financial analysis, and will be actively involved in the ongoing operations of the business.
The properties currently grow green (Hayward) and gold (G3) varieties in roughly equal percentages. When mature, the three blocks are expected to produce up to 1.3 million trays. Ngāti Awa Group Holdings has taken an equal third share of the business and will appoint one of the three Shareholder Directors to the Board, who will be joined by up to two Independent Directors.
The sale process was a competitive tender undertaken by Bayleys. The conditions of the tender require the sale price to remain confidential.

For more information, please contact:
Geoff Hamilton
Ngāti Awa Group Holdings