Lead negotiator for the Whanganui Iwi tribe, Chair of Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui, the post-settlement governance body for Whanganui Iwi for the purpose of the Whanganui River Settlement
We treat the river as a brother, or a sister, a father or a mother. It has rights, as do you and I.
Our river faces many challenges. Most of the land area has been cleared of its native forest. The headwaters of the river, which flows from its source, have been diverted for hydroelectricity generation, which has destroyed habitat for fish.
When you are dealing with a sick river, you feel sick yourself. Because that river is you and you are that river.
The laws that were brought to this country totally ignored the river’s rights to be heard.
So our vision for the future is that all communities of this river will view the river in the same way as the indigenous peoples do. We are owned by the river, we do not own the river, the river owns us.