A document to restore, protect and enhance one of the region's taonga was signed last Friday.

The new Kaituna River Document was launched and celebrated by Te Maru o Kaituna River Authority at Ngāti Moko Marae in Waitangi.

Te Maru o Kaituna River Authority chairman Dean Flavell said the Kaituna River and its tributaries are considered taonga (treasures) by both iwi and the community and are valued resources for the Bay of Plenty.

"Many people and organisations are investing a significant amount of time, effort and money over the coming 10 years to help care for the land, water and wildlife in the
Kaituna catchment and Maketū Estuary,'' he said.

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"This document will guide local government, iwi and the wider community in their work together to protect and preserve the Kaituna River and its tributaries. It represents a culmination of input from the Kaituna community."

The document, Kaituna, he taonga tuku iho — a treasure handed down - can be traced back to the Tapuika Claims Settlement Act 2014.

It sets out an iwi and community vision, objectives and desired outcomes for the Kaituna River and its tributaries. The document will influence councils' planning documents and local government decisions relevant to the awa (river).

Te Maru o Kaituna River Authority members today signed nine copies of the document which were then handed back to the partner iwi and councils behind the its creation.

The document's launch completes a historic full circle including the signing of the
Tapuika Deed of Settlement in 2012 and the enacting of the Tapuika Claims Settlement Act in 2014, through which the Crown acknowledged that the waterways which Tapuika live beside and cherish (the Kaituna River) had been degraded.

Te Maru o Kaituna River Authority was established out of the Act and is made up of five iwi and four councils. The act also directed the production of the Kaituna River Document as a tool to empower local iwi and councils to work together to guide the better care of
the awa and its tributaries.

Flavell said there was more work for everybody to do to secure the health and mauri of the Kaituna.

"The time to act is now if we are going to pass on a clean healthy Kaituna River to our mokopuna," he said.

Te Maru o Kaituna will now develop an action plan for iwi, hapū, local government and the wider community to deliver on the common vision, objectives and desired outcomes set through the document.

The action plan will prioritise the collective actions of Te Maru o Kaituna partners and other responsible entities to restore protect and enhance the Kaituna River and its tributaries for the future.

Te Maru o Kaituna will be hosting a public celebration later in the year, to register interest email info@kaituna.org.nz. To find out more visit www.kaituna.org.nz