There’s a buzz around town
Mana whenua and airport find common ground
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. rotorua-airport.co.nz