27 Mar 2014

Iwi expects a say in future consents

9:36 am on 27 March 2014

An iwi negotiator says future consents for the Whanganui river will have to be negotiated with the iwi if its treaty settlement is signed off by the Government.

Whanganui iwi have three weeks to consult on the deed Tutohu Whakatupua which was initialled in parliament on Wednesday.

The deed will establish the Whanganui River as its own legal entity, to be managed by iwi.

Iwi negotiator Gerrard Albert says there will be no effect on current resource consents but that will change for new ones.

He says next time the Whanganui river will be approached as a living, indivisible river with its own status and legal weighting and future decisions will have to take this into consideration.

The deed of settlement, which aims to safeguard the Whanganui River for future generations, was initialled in Parliament on Wednesday.

More than 150 people attended the ceremony from various hapu with tribal connections to the waterway.

Before the ceremony some people could be seen sobbing, but once proceedings got underway there were people smiling and others greeting one another.

Members from Ngati Uenuku, which called on the hapu to delay the initialling ceremony, were also in attendance.

On Monday, Ngati Uenuku urged the tribal treaty negotiating team to halt progress on the deed until the tribes have had a change to cite the document.

Now the deed has been initialled, three weeks will be set aside in which hui will be arranged to discuss the full details of the deed and post settlement arrangements - before iwi members will be called on to vote on the document.

The Whanganui River.

The Whanganui River. Photo: PHOTO NZ