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

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa High Court Appeal – Creswell

Status: For immediate release

Date: 17 January 2020


After careful consideration since receiving the Environment Court’s decision on 10 December 2019, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa has today lodged an appeal in the High Court against the Environment Court’s majority decision to allow Creswell NZ Limited to take extract 1.1 billion litres of water per annum for water bottling from the Awaiti aquifer. This aquifer is in the rohe of Ngāti Awa.  

Environment Court appeal and decision

In 2018, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa 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.   An appeal hearing was held in May 2019. Our evidence and legal submissions were heard by the Environment Court at Te Mānuka Tūtahi Marae, Whakatāne.

In the week of the Whakaari eruption, on 10 December 2019 we received the Environment Court’s decision on our appeal against the decision to grant Creswell consent to take water for the purpose of bottling and export.  The majority of the Environment Court confirmed the Regional Council’s decision (and therefore Creswell’s application) to take water for the purpose of bottling and export, and dismissed our appeal in part.   One of the three Commissioners recommended Creswell’s consent be declined.

High Court Appeal

As a result of our on-going concerns, and after careful consideration of the Environment Court’s decision, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa has lodged an appeal in the High Court.  Appeals to the High Court from decisions of the Environment Court are restricted to points of law.

Leonie Simpson, Manahautū (CEO) Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa says “We are extremely concerned about the effects on te mauri o te wai, and the ability of Ngāti Awa to exercise kaitiakitanga due to Creswell’s proposed activities. As kaitiaki and tangata whenua we must be included in decisions about our taonga and on issues that affect us in our rohe”.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa also remains focused on caring for our manuhiri, their families, friends and our staff through the Whakaari tradgedy. 

Our communications priority for this High Court appeal is to keep Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Representatives and hapū updated on progress, and we will not be making any further comment at this time.


For enquiries please contact:

Leonie Simpson

Manahautū (CEO) Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa