The search for Upper Clutha Iwi

A hui is scheduled on Sunday in Hawea to discover more about local Iwi living in Upper Clutha.

The exploratory hui aims to help establish who is residing in the area who could be considered local Iwi. This weekend’s assembly comes after The Wanaka Water Project hosted a water hui and a workshop last March to consult with local Iwi on cultural and spiritual importance of healthy waterways.

"A call went out from the Upper Clutha Lakes Trust who wished to consult with local Iwi in relation to the water projects they are undertaking," said Cherilyn Walthew, this Sunday's hui organiser. "While I attended the [March] hui, I didn’t feel that I was currently, adequately empowered by my culture to consult in any official capacity as local Iwi. This is despite my grandfather having land-rights in Hawea, which led to the question: who is considered to be 'local Iwi'?"

Walthew said there are several capacities in which local Iwi are legally required to be consulted. "There does not appear to be a clear process to contact local Iwi in the Upper Clutha region," she said. "Despite this, many consents or projects have consultation processes that manage to 'tick' that box.

Sunday's hui will be held at Hawea Flat Community Hall from 2.00pm to 4.00pm with an intent to 'include rather than exclude.’ "For over 40 years, local Maori descendants have been fighting for a voice in our local community however, our numbers and knowledge have never been sufficient to realise this goal. We hope that the people with the skills and knowledge we need to push this forward are now here and we are also actively seeking guidance from Kaumatua within the Iwi."


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