At a hui for Hawke’s Bay hapu held Wednesday night at Matahiwi Marae in Clive, Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Inc (NKII) received endorsement to oppose the Ruataniwha Dam.
Speakers voiced strong objections to the Regional Council’s past disregard of Maori water concerns in the region, and with respect to the proposed dam, cited insufficient protection of environmental values and lack of adequate consultation on the project. NKII Chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana sized up the sentiment and proposed a position of opposition, which was unanimously approved.
At this point, NKII has been empowered as the authoritative voice for Maori in the region on the dam and related Tukituki Plan Change, both now before an appointed Board of Inquiry. Dr Adele Whyte, acting CEO, also confirmed that NKII was not considering an investment in the dam.
All in all, a bad news night for the Regional Council (or is it Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company?!) with respect to its “damn dam”, as one speaker put it.
HBRC has been dangling Maori job prospects and touting Maori support and even investment commitment for the dam. I guess they will need to un-tick the Maori box and revise their slide shows and other propaganda on the project!
Regional Council candidates Pauline Elliott, Chris Perley, Paul Bailey and I spoke in support of the decision, as did councillor Liz Remmerswaal.