Te Mauri o Te Wai - the life supporting capacity of water, its significance to Maori and our regional communities is on the agenda of a regional Maori conference in Rotorua on Thursday and Friday.

Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Waikato Regional Council will host the biennial Te Oniao conference for tangata whenua from the two regions.

The theme is Te Mauri o Te Wai.

A line-up of expert speakers that organisers hope will impress an expected 180 attendees includes Tamati Kruger (Tuhoe), Professor Linda Te Aho (Ngati Koroki Kahukura, Waikato-Tainui), Rahui Papa (Waikato-Tainui), Lara Burkhardt (Ngati Whatua) and others.

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They will showcase the significance of the freshwater space and its importance to Maori including matauranga Maori and kaitiakitanga.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council strategic engagement manager Kataraina O'Brien said this was the third event of its kind for the Bay of Plenty region and it had proven successful in the past.

"Te Oniao is a way for our two regional councils and tangata whenua in our regions to whakawhiti whakaaro (share ideas) and an opportunity for whakawhanaungatanga (network) around the freshwater space and resource management.

"It is a koha (a gesture of reciprocity) back to those Maori communities that continually assist council in its mahi."

This will be the third conference Bay of Plenty Regional Council has hosted.

Te Oniao will be held at the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre on Thursday from 8am-5.30pm and Friday from 9am-2pm.

Workshops on the health of tuna (eels) in the Rangitaiki River, the Matauranga Maori Framework project, Maori hearing commissioners, Maori land potential, freshwater management and iwi resource management plans will also take place.

- To see the full programme and register for the event, visit boprc.govt.nz/Te-Oniao-conference or phone event organisers Awhina August on 021 143 7040 or Sandy Hohepa on 0800 884 880 for more details.

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