Mana whenua approve pilot dairy farms
An accord between mana whenua and Ngāi Tahu Farming has been hailed as a template for the tribe’s future projects.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu has approved three pilot dairy farms at Eyrewell, 40 kilometres northwest of Christchurch after a mana whenua working party was satisfied the pilot farms recognized and provided for Ngāi Tahu values. It follows a review process and months of meetings between the mana whenua working group and Ngāi Tahu Farming.
The mana whenua working party is made up of Ngai Tahu hapū who hold mana whenua over the Hurunui and Waimakariri catchments associated with Ngāi Tahu Farming’s Eyrewell development.
Cultural and environmental aspirations have been the top priorities for mana whenua, says Clare Williams.
“We have worked really hard with Ngāi Tahu Farming to get good outcomes. Our main concern is nutrient levels in waterways. We don’t want anything from the farms ending up as contaminant in our waterways because that is where we get our kai from. This is why the best technology is important.”
Mana whenua set a challenge for the farming team, says working party member Darcia Solomon.
“We want our farms as examples of sustainability; for our tribe to be clean, green and leaders in dairying.. We want to be an example. The farming team have had to work really hard to convince us.”
Kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon says the decision marks the end of the pilot process and similar scrutiny will be applied to any future ventures into dairy farming.
The work carried out by mana whenua and Ngāi Tahu Farming provides a template for future projects, says Ngāi Tahu Property chair Barry Bragg.