Raukawa Trust Board planning big celebration
South Waikato iwi Raukawa will mark the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Raukawa Maori Trust Board with celebrations and festivities this weekend.
On March 24, 1987 the Raukawa Trust Board was formed and set about driving the cultural, social and economic development for the people of the iwi.
The board was also determined to have a greater say on issues that were important to its more than 20,000 members.
The 25-year anniversary celebration, to be held at the Tokoroa Memorial Sports Ground this Saturday, March 24, marks a period of momentous change and growth for the Raukawa iwi.
The day, which will include a range of music, entertainment, stalls and sports events, will appeal to families.
The organisation is now the largest provider of health and social services in the South Waikato.
It employs more than 70 staff across business units which deal with environmental initiatives, te reo Maori language revitalisation, youth services, and the negotiation of Raukawa Treaty of Waitangi Claims.
The Raukawa Trust Board has evolved to what is now the Raukawa Settlement Trust, which is the parent for subsidiaries including the Raukawa Charitable Trust and Raukawa Iwi Development Ltd.
The commercial arm of the tribe, Raukawa Iwi Development Ltd, manages assets and investments valued at almost $50 million.
Raukawa Settlement Trust Chairwoman Vanessa Eparaima said the 25-year anniversary celebration marked a milestone for the people of Raukawa.
‘‘We can acknowledge and celebrate the incredible work of our whanaunga who had a vision, and the many hundreds who followed this inspiration to help build the vibrant tribal entity that we are today.’’
Mrs Eparaima said it was important to celebrate the special day and to acknowledge the huge progress made by Raukawa.
‘‘We are heading into a new phase of our iwi development. We are within weeks of concluding our outstanding Treaty of Waitangi Settlement negotiations.
‘‘The conclusion of this important work will allow the iwi to focus all our considerable energy and resources on further enhancing and growing our social cultural and economic capacity for our people.’’
Trust chairman George Rangitutia said the event marked an important time to acknowledge those who began this journey.
‘‘It is a day to celebrate and acknowledge our leaders and all those who supported them to bring us to this point today.
‘‘The anniversary is a day for our people and all in our communities to come together and to take part in the events, to celebrate, to enjoy the entertainment and to acknowledge and share in Raukawatanga.
‘‘ We welcome our Raukawa whanau, and all in the community to come along and enjoy the day’s events and activities.’’