Ruakawa op­pose sale of our as­sets

South Waikato News - - OPIN­ION - By VANESSA EPARAIMA

He puna roimata he puna Aroha he puna Te waiora mo nga iwi ka­toa. Tena tatou ka­toa.

My name is Vanessa Eparaima, I am proud and hum­bled to be chair of the Raukawa Set­tle­ment Trust.

As re­ported in this pa­per ear­lier this year, I was elected chair af­ter Chris McKen­zie, a reg­u­lar colum­nist in the South Waikato News, did not seek re­elec­tion. Chris was lured away from Toko­roa to Welling­ton by the op­por­tu­nity to drive pos­i­tive change in Gov­ern­ment as a se­nior ad­viser to Te Hauauru MP, and Maori Party co-leader Tar­i­ana Turia..

It has been a mo­men­tous time since be­ing elected chair. Raukawa con­cluded the lengthy and ex­pen­sive process of set­tling our out­stand­ing Treaty of Wai­tangi claims. The progress al­lows us as an iwi to fo­cus our en­er­gies on the fu­ture, rather than seek­ing jus­tice for the wrongs of the past.

We cel­e­brated the 25th an­niver­sary of the for­ma­tion of the Raukawa Trust board, the pre­cur­sor to the Raukawa Set­tle­ment Trust, in March of this year. It was an event marked with a day of fes­tiv­i­ties and com­mem­o­ra­tions.

There has also been sig­nif­i­cant loss for Raukawa, with the pass­ing last month of re­spected kau­matua, and for­mer Raukawa Trust Board chair­man Ge­orge Ran­gi­tu­tia.

Ge­orge was well re­spected and loved through­out the com­mu­nity. He worked as a fire­man in the re­gion for more than 25 years.

For­mer Raukawa Trust Board chair­man Wally Papa also passed away ear­lier this year. Wally lead some of the most sig­nif­i­cant change in the trust board and many paid their re­spects to him at his tangi.

I have been asked to pro­vide an opin­ion for the South Waikato News from time to time on is­sues im­por­tant to Raukawa.

I am grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity and will use this col­umn to in­form those in the com­mu­nity we share of as­pects of the devel­op­ment of our tribe, our suc­cesses and chal­lenges, and a Raukawa per­spec­tive on rel­e­vant is­sues.

As we en­ter the warmer months, wa­ter is in the thoughts of many of us, to quench our thirsts, to swim in to cool us, for spir­i­tual sus­te­nance, or for sim­ple fun. And it is fair to say that wa­ter has dom­i­nated the at­ten­tions of many politi­cians and peo­ple re­cently, driven by the con­nec­tion of wa­ter to the Gov­ern­ment’s plans to sell shares in Mighty River Power, which uses the wa­ters of the Waikato River to power its dams.

This is an is­sue re­quir­ing an en­tire col­umn and per­haps in the com­ing weeks and months I can ex­pand on this kau­papa. What I will say, how­ever, is that Raukawa is do­ing all it can to en­sure the rights of our peo­ple are not tram­pled by this Gov­ern­ment’s rush to sell sta­te­owned as­sets.

We do not sup­port the sale of as­sets owned by all in our com­mu­ni­ties. Raukawa be­lieves it is im­por­tant that the prof­its made in this coun­try re­main in this coun­try, and the same should ap­ply to our re­gion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.