Ruakawa oppose sale of our assets
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.