A biting northerly buffeted the morning powhiri on Tauranga-Ika Marae at Nukumaru on Wednesday at the launch of Te Kaahui o Rauru "Puutaiao Management Plan".
Representatives from Taranaki iwi Ngati Ruanui, Rangitikei iwi Ngati Apa, South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballentyne, Julian Jackson from the Ministry for the Environment, Kemp Dryden from Whanganui Department of Conservation, and Taranaki regional councillor Neil Walker came to hear about the hard work the Paepae Rangatira Forum had put in to develop the environment plan.
Te Kaahui o Rauru's Mark Pirikau thanked Esther Tinirau for her work in the development of the plan, and Mr Jackson said the ministry view was that the plan was important and integral to air, land and water. The ministry wanted to see the plan integrated within local government, business and among individuals. "This book may inform ... it is a starting point for understanding and planning, but it is not a substitute for communication with iwi themselves," he said.
Mr Walker commended the plan and how the iwi viewed the natural world. "We intend to seriously engage with tangata whenua," he said. Former South Taranaki deputy mayor Debbie Packer echoed the words of Omahuru Robinson, of Ngati Ruahine, who said Puutaiao was bringing to life the dreams of those not yet born.
Puutaiao was developed to ensure that in 50 years' the mokopuna of Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi would know the environment and cultural heritage for themselves, not just in the memories of its kaumatua and kuia. The forum that developed Puutaiao say it was deliberate in its intent to express that the people of Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi maintained mana motuhake, rangatiratanga and Ngaa Raurutanga over all its taonga and to continue to assume its kaitiangitanga. "Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi has a strong association with its mountains, rivers, coastline and flora and fauna - Our environment is a part of who we are."