Kei te hākerekere, kei aku rangatira, e te iwi whānui, nāia te uruhau, nāia hoki te mihi o te tau hou Pākehā ki a koutou i runga i ngā tini āhuatanga o te wā.

I hope everyone had a well-deserved break over the summer period, relaxing and enjoying the time with whānau and friends and that you are re-energised for what 2013 will bring.

I would like to take the opportunity again to acknowledge and congratulate Henare Rakiihia Tau for receiving the award, Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM), for services to Māori, in the 2013 New Year’s Honours. Rik has worked tirelessly, for Ngāi Tūāhuriri, the iwi and the wider Canterbury community in many advocacy and leadership roles. Of course, Rik and the Ngāi Tahu Māori Trust Board lodged the Ngāi Tahu claim with the Waitangi Tribunal in 1986. And Rik showed true manaaki and leadership during the February earthquake, ensuring whānau in need, volunteers and visitors from around the country and world were looked after and well fed. Once again congratulations to you Rik. E te morehu, e te upoko, e te manukura, tāu mahi e te ringa whero, nei ka mihi.
Already 2013 has been a busy year involving travel to Antarctica with the Prime Minister to erect the pou ‘Te Kaiwhakatere o te Raki’, carved by Fayne Robinson of Ngāti Waewae, the first Iwi Leaders Forum hui in Waitangi and the Ngāi Tahu Waitangi Celebrations, hosted by Ōnuku Rūnanga.

This year at Ōnuku, we had Tā Tipene O’Regan give a key-note speech on the New Zealand Constitution Review, which he co-chairs with Emeritus Professor John Burrows. Tā Tipene is encouraging all New Zealanders to contribute to the review and have a part in shaping our country’s future, particularly Māori (whānau, hapū, iwi), where the panel are seeking views that reflect the partnership model and are responsive to Māori consultation preferences. I strongly recommend you visit for more detailed information.

My talk was on fresh water from a Ngāi Tahu perspective. I said at Ōnuku that it is time for a management framework of fresh water in Aotearoa that gives effect to Māori rights and interests – to ensure there is appropriate provision and recognition of iwi rights and interests across all parts of the freshwater management and ownership framework. And I have said before that for Ngāi Tahu to achieve our own goals and aspirations on water issues, we need to directly engage with the Crown. Please take some time to read my speech on, to give you an insight on the approach we are taking on national level.

As part of the celebrations, Mayor Bob Parker of Christchurch conducted a New Zealand Citizenship ceremony.

We had 28 immigrants who became official New Zealand citizens and it was awesome to see the pride on their faces and to have the occasion on Waitangi Day and at the marae. To conclude the ceremony a karanga was given to welcome them not only to Aotearoa, but also to the Ngāi Tahu rohe. The ceremony ended with Ōnuku performing the haka, ‘Tēnei te ruru’.

It was a beautiful 173rd commemoration of the signing of the treaty at Ōnuku. The manaakitanga to the masses that came to celebrate this with us was overwhelming. I wish to acknowledge and thank Ngāi Tārewa – Ōnuku Rūnanga for hosting a successful and productive day – nei ka mihi.

I would also like to support and acknowledge our papatipu rūnanga and taurahere groups who also held Waitangi Day celebrations in their rohe. It’s great to see whānau coming together to celebrate and commemorate Waitangi Day.