From the CEO

Apr 12, 2012

mikeSangChief Executive Officer,
Te Rūnanga O Ngāi Tahu,
Mike Sang

“Kōkihi ake te huri i te one”
“A new shoot sprouts from the ground”

A new year, a new beginning

Welcome everyone to the first edition of TE KARAKA for 2012. I hope the year has started well for you.

For Te Rūnanga it feels like we are in good shape to discuss the significant issues confronting the iwi and the nation. Our governance initiatives of the past year mean we are ready for some robust good high-level strategic debates. And there are plenty of debates to be had. The central Government has placed some significant issues on the table, including a discussion with iwi about the protection of Treaty of Waitangi rights, particularly in terms of sections 9 and 27A-D of the State Owned Enterprises Act 1986. This issue, which surrounds the Government’s proposal to sell down its shareholding in four energy companies, has led to a linked debate about freshwater and iwi rights.
Te Rūnanga is in the fortunate position to be able to engage effectively with the Crown on these matters.

Freshwater reform has been on the Ngāi Tahu agenda for decades and in 2012 we see real opportunity for better water use and management. Te Waihora co-governance and restoration efforts will gather speed, and further south in the takiwā, ngā rūnanga are working closely with all stakeholders to address the poor health of threatened water bodies such as Waituna Lagoon.

Another significant item for the iwi is the relativity mechanism, which is expected to be triggered this year or next year at the latest. The mechanism will preserve the relative value of the Ngāi Tahu settlement as a percentage of overall settlements. While this is a simple contractual matter and calculation, it is important that its effect takes place in an environment reflective of our Treaty relationship with the Crown, and the steady and continuous dialogue that has been a hallmark of the relationship over recent times.

With such important issues on the table, we are growing our office capability within a capped budget. The extra capability will allow exciting new initiatives and increased support to Papatipu Rūnanga. Among a range of initiatives, a marae fund of $1m annually will be launched. In the education sphere, the Ministry of Education has signed Te Mahere Mātauraka, an excellent agreement that places the iwi on an equal footing with the Ministry. In practical terms it funds significant activity for Papatipu Rūnanga. So 2012 is shaping to be a positive and busy year, with a collaborative work environment, plenty of important issues to work through and new initiatives to develop and implement.

Finally, a very warm welcome to our new TE KARAKA editor Mark Revington. It was very sad to say goodbye to Faumuinā Tafuna’i but I feel assured that with Mark’s steady hand on the steering paddle of TE KARAKA the magazine will continue to chart a successful path through Ngāi Tahu currents.