17 Jul 2012

Lack of water the issue for Ngati Kahungunu

7:16 pm on 17 July 2012

Ngati Kahungunu chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana says their concern about water rights and ownership is quite different to the issues which other iwi have presented to the Waitangi Tribunal.

He says whereas the emphasis in submissions over the past week has been on water and power generation, for Ngati Kahungunu the major issue is Maori communities from Wairarapa to Wairoa running out of water.

Mr Tomoana says at least four communities near Hastings have water issues every year and it is the same situation for many Maori in Wairarapa.

He says before councils allocate water to farmers they need to recognise the kaitiaki role which Maori have over water as having a value.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says the situation is only going to get worse as rural landowners with consents to take water, find more creative uses for it.