Rotorua Weekender

There’s a buzz around town

Mana whenua and airport find common ground

- Roimata Mihinui Kāhu ki Rotorua

Have you noticed that the heartbeat of Rotorua is starting to gain momentum? In the past month I have noted the return of cruise ship tourists and our mokopuna are happy they are being paid to guide and perform kapa haka.

A shopping excursion during the Black Friday celebratio­ns was not as scary as I feared.

There were plenty of people at the Central Mall but not nearly as many as I expected.

Going across the bridge at Whaka I was pleased to see so many visitors and overjoyed that the hole which opened under a tourist some weeks ago has now been filled in.

It was also pretty cool going to Te Puia for a 70th birthday to see that our party was one of three at that time.

One observatio­n I have is that while it’s great to see so many young people working, their supervisor­s should give them some training.

Rotorua is famous for our manaakitan­ga and a smile or show of interest from wait staff, guides and drivers go a long way in making people feel welcome.

We want to be remembered for the pleasant experience­s people have in our city.

The people of our rohe have long benefitted from hosting manuhiri and as we are centrally located we are easily accessible from many parts of the country.

Since it opened in 1964 Rotorua Airport has been key to developmen­t.

It has offered a range of jobs and an agreement signed recently by mana whenua Ngati Uenukukopa­ko and the airport board was the culminatio­n of four years’ work to formalise their relationsh­ip.

The memorandum of understand­ing was signed by Paraone Pirika and Wharangi Cookson on behalf of the koeke of Ngāti Uenukukōpa­ko, and for the Rotorua Regional Airport (RRA), the chairman Peter Stubbs and chief executive Nicole Brewer signed the MOU following the airport AGM.

It formalises the hapū and airport’s desire to work closely together to recognise the past, while building a strong future that provides positive outcomes for everyone involved, including the immediate surroundin­g community.

Over the past four years, both parties have focused on ensuring better ways of working together, including regular hui to provide updates on developmen­ts and a platform for further discussion.

This work has culminated in the MOU agreement.

Nireaha Pirika, Ngāti Uenukukōpa­ko Iwi Trust chairman, says the agreement is an important acknowledg­ement for the iwi and will help to open doors for Ngāti Uenukukopa­ko whānau.

“It offers us many opportunit­ies to work together. Most importantl­y, it ensures an open and ongoing dialogue between Ngāti Uenukukōpa­ko and the airport which will ultimately result in greater engagement and knowledge sharing, which will benefit the wider Rotokawa community.“

Nicole says the MOU is the next step in recognisin­g the significan­ce of Ngāti Uenukukōpa­ko and their relationsh­ip to the airport.

“Ngāti Uenukukōpa­ko has deep ancestral connection­s to Rotokawa and the land underlying Rotorua Airport,” she says.

“We are looking forward to working more closely with iwi representa­tives on developmen­t opportunit­ies at the airport that create a thriving community, mutual economic benefits and a sustainabl­e environmen­t.”

Rotorua Airport Chairman, Peter Stubbs, says the MOU forms the basis of a solid future for the airport.

Integral to the MOU is the commitment to a high-trust relationsh­ip founded on four key values:

■ Whakapapa: To grow the understand­ing of mana whenua and ensure processes are put in place which respect this position today and into the future

■ Whanaungat­anga: RRA will make Ngāti Uenukukopa­ko aware of internship­s, work experience and employment opportunit­ies at RRA, so their rangatahi (young people) can gain skills that lead to employment and business opportunit­ies

■ Wairuatang­a: Ngāti Uenukukopa­ko will provide cultural advice on matters that affect the airport

■ Manaakitan­ga: Ngāti Uenukukopa­ko and RRA undertake to ensure that all communicat­ions between the parties are honest, respectful and guided by kindness

Sitting at Rotokawa on the shore of Lake Rotorua, Rotorua Airport has daily, direct services to Auckland, Wellington and Christchur­ch. It also caters for internatio­nal charter flights.

The airport plays a pivotal role in Rotorua’s community and economy, connecting locals, businesses and manuhiri with Rotorua and beyond. Rotorua Airport operates as a Rotorua Lakes Council Controlled Organisati­on (CCO) with an independen­t board.

More informatio­n: www.

 ?? Pictures / Supplied ?? Ngati Uenukukopa­ko kaumatua Paraone Pirika at the airport meeting.
Pictures / Supplied Ngati Uenukukopa­ko kaumatua Paraone Pirika at the airport meeting.
 ?? ?? Paraone Pirika and Peter Stubbs.
Paraone Pirika and Peter Stubbs.
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