Good news that the Central Plains Water Project is in doubt and is unlikely to go ahead. This project is wrong in so many ways and it was great to see Ngai Tahu make submissions opposing the scheme.
In a keynote speech to the Irrigation NZ Conference and Expo 2008, Mark Solomon, our Kaiwhakahaere stated, "... Central Plains Water Scheme is an example of a type of development Ngai Tahu opposes on the basis of the effects taking large amounts of water from the Waimakariri and Rakaia Rivers will have on the in-stream eco-systems, the physical landscape and the cultural landscape. Added to that are the effects 60,000 hectares of new intensified land use will have on Te Waihora (Ellesmere) and its lowland streams."
Congratulations to all opponents, especially to the submitters on behalf of all Ngai Tahu - we are proud of this work.
In the very good speech mentioned above, Mark also outlines Ngai Tahu's view of the cultural significance of water.
"If you can picture a water way or location in Te Waipounamu, perhaps a favourite site or place like Queenstown or Wanaka, a fishing spot, or a special place over looking water and you will likely be referring to a place that was a traditional or seasonal camp site."
"Our ancestors had a thing for location, an eye for places that were sheltered, had access to food resources and connected to water and waterways, and invariably places that conjured up feelings of beauty and awe."
"Water was a central feature, a medium that our people lived with and off rather than seeking to manipulate it to do things that were not natural, it was a resource that the people had no need to control or harness."
To Ngai Tahu water is not only a source of food and physical sustenance, but a source of mana and spiritual sustenance, intricately linked to our well-being, and the hunter gatherer society."
These words are strong and true. I would like to see them (visible) on our website.
Over half of all of this countries fresh water resources are within our rohe.