Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Water and maori - back to the future

Pita Sharples says it like it is.

"In a speech to the Indigenous Legal Water Forum in Wellington on Sunday, Dr Sharples said local hapu and iwi needed to be full participants in decisions on water management in their areas, and water ownership issues needed national attention.

He said Maori believed water had a spiritual significance and they had a guardianship role to play.

"We seek to maintain our collective responsibilities to respect and protect the environment and communities that give us our identity, our rangatiratanga, our mana."

The state of fresh water was not just an environmental issue but related to the Treaty of Waitangi yet Maori had not been given an adequate role."

"This narrow focus on economics is driving the degradation of natural water sources by pollution, abstraction for irrigation or power generation, and the flooding and droughts made worse by deforestation and climate change."

That paragraph sums it up in my book. The focus is too narrow. It's about more than just money. If we don't protect the environment and water specfically, then we not only won't make the money but we won't be here. And that would be a shame.

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