Key project partners have come together as founding signatories of Te Whakaoranga o Te
Puhinui – Puhinui Regeneration charter, signalling their support for a new collaborative way of working, led by indigenous knowledge, to restore the environment and communities of Te Puhinui to health.
The charter will guide future urban renewal projects, community action and investment across the Puhinui catchment.
Primarily driven by Te Waiohua Iwi (Ngaati Te Ata Waiohua, Ngaati Tamaoho and Te Ākitai Waiohua), the charter was endorsed by Auckland Council’s Governing Body at its August 2021 meeting for ratification.
The document is the culmination of many years of collaboration among Te Waiohua, the council whānau, Ōtara-Papatoetoe and Manurewa local boards, Kāinga Ora, Te Papa Atawhai (DOC), and local community groups.
It enables Te Waiohua iwi to fulfil their role as kaitiaki to this area and is supported by a comprehensive regeneration strategy outlining a range of initiatives and capital works required over the near and far term to enable ‘Te Whakaora’ – the bringing of health to Te Puhinui, Eke Panuku said in a statement this week.
Representatives from Auckland Council, Te Waiohua iwi (Ngaati Tamaoho Waiohua, Ngaati Te Ata and Te Ākitai Waiohua), Kāinga Ora, Eke Panuku Development Auckland, Ōtara-
Papatoetoe and Manurewa local boards pledged their commitment by signing the document, with several other key community partners signing a register of support for the charter.
Te Ākitai Waiohua chair, Karen Wilson said she was humbled by the opportunity to have support from mana whenua to develop the charter.
“For us this is an important step towards realising our own tino rangatiratanga and being able to protect and look after our places and people and carry out our manaaki and kaitiaki
responsibilities which we have been fighting to be able to do for over 200 years.”
“It has truly been a collective effort to get to this point. The support from the wider mana whenua roopu and their endorsement of us leading this mahi has allowed the Waiohua iwi to come together as a collective, strengthening those hononga to collaborate on this document.
“I would like to acknowledge all of those involved so far in this kaupapa and those organisations who have been doing what they can for the tuupuna awa. I would also like to acknowledge the founding signatories on their commitment through this charter and urge them to continue to prioritise and value the solutions that exist in maatauranga Maaori,” she said.
Auckland Mayor, Phil Goff said it was good to see the Puhinui Stream being restored to a clean and beautiful waterway after decades of degradation.
“I played in this stream as a kid but after years of it being a dumping ground for rubbish and suffering from pollution, nobody would wish to play in it today,” he said.
“In common with actions being taken across the city, it’s time to restore ‘te mana o te wai’ to the stream, to give it back its life-giving qualities.
“We want people in our urban areas to enjoy clean and open streams, with the areas around them planted in shrubs and trees and providing play areas for kids, as well as cycling and walking paths.
“It’s great to be entering into a partnership between council, mana whenua, and other stakeholders to work together to restore and manage Te Puhinui as an important natural asset for the people who live around it,” the Mayor said.
A direct response to the Manukau Framework Plan, which sets out the approach for how Eke Panuku and its partners will transform Manukau over the next 20 to 25 years, Te Whakaoranga o Te Puhinui – Puhinui Regeneration takes a holistic approach to the whakaoranga of the stream, which includes the health of tangata, whenua and taiao (people, place and nature).
Eke Panuku chair, Paul Majurey said the organisation was incredibly proud to be leading the collaboration with Te Waiohua to restore the mauri of Te Puhinui as part of the Transform Manukau programme.
“Four years ago, Te Waiohua challenged us to think bigger than our traditional programme
boundaries here. To look at the whole catchment and implement a mai i ngā maunga ki te
moana, mountains-to-sea approach,” he said.
“This truly embodies the meaning of regeneration and requires innovation and partnership. The next critical stage for this kaupapa is to bring the charter and strategy to life through action and will require many hands. Much work is already planned and underway to regenerate health to this catchment environment and its communities,” he says.