Water supply, language and fisheries were up for discussion when Ngati Kahungunu representatives and the Israeli ambassador met yesterday.

The two parties were keen to forge relationships that would benefit both parties.

Speaking for Ngati Kahungunu, Ngahiwi Tomoana said the iwi was keen to learn from Israel's past experiences, to help deal with local issues such as water shortages.

Ambassador Yosef Livne said this was an area of expertise for Israel, where there had long been water shortages.

Advertisement

In the same time the population in Israel had doubled, strategies and systems put in place had meant the water usage had decreased, he said.

Mr Tomoana also said he was interested in learning from the revival of the Hebrew language, given the struggle to retain te reo.

Mr Livne said he would get Ngati Kahungunu in touch with the right people, but it was local fisheries he was most interested in.

"You have beautiful fish in New Zealand. People tell me that you already export fish to Spain, and when you take into consideration the distance, Israel is a hop, skip and a jump away."

Mr Livne said he appreciated the effort made by Ngati Kahungunu taking the time to speak with him.

"Someone who says 'We have questions' is someone who hasn't made up his mind and is willing to give you a fair hearing. These are the people I look for," he said.

In response to Green Party MP Paul Bailey's suggestion that New Zealand should expel the ambassador, Mr Tomoana said he did not support that, given the importance of ambassadors to his tribe.

"The current leaders of our tribe are ambassadors. Jerry Mataparae, Pita Sharples and Rose Pere, they're international ambassadors," he said.

Advertisement

"It's through connections and communication where our strength is."

Mr Livne spoke on the conflict in Gaza and said he hoped the ceasefire would last.

"I can say with all honesty, integrity and authority that we lament every death," he said.

He and his family love living in New Zealand, he said.

"My wife says this is the one place in the world where reality is better than postcards."

He has enjoyed his time in Hawke's Bay, he said, especially his lunch at a winery yesterday.

Advertisement