Nāia te uruhau, nāia te mihi kau atu ki a koutou i runga i ngā tini āhuatanga o te wā.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the three Christchurch-based kapa haka rōpū, Te Ahikōmau a Hamoterangi, Ngā Manu a Tāne and Te Kotahitanga, who represented Waitaha and performed at the national kapa haka competition, Te Matatini, held in Rotorua on 21-24 February. After many months of practice, commitment and hard work, the three groups gave it all they had on the stage. Each performer should be very proud of the way they represented their community, whānau, hapū, and iwi.I had the privilege of attending Te Matatini with the Ngāi Tahu contingent, Waitaha Cultural Council and the Christchurch City Council. We were given a tour behind the scenes for insight on how the operations of Te Matatini work. We walked away with a lot of ideas that will contribute to our planning for Te Matatini 2015; so watch this space whānau, we will keep you posted on the plans for 2015. On the Sunday immediately after the prize-giving, Te Arawa officially handed the mauri of Te Matatini over to Ngāi Tahu. It is currently at Tuahiwi Marae.

We also commemorated the second year anniversary of the February earthquakes. It has been a time for reflection and a time to remember those who passed away. This anniversary is also a time for each of us as individuals, whānau and communities to acknowledge the responsibility and unique opportunity we share to rebuild our lives, our communities and our city.

In other updates, the government has released the “Freshwater reform 2013 and beyond” document. This document contains the government’s proposals for reform of freshwater in Aotearoa. Reforms in this area are looking to address some of the current challenges with the existing freshwater management system. I have welcomed the government’s recognition that iwi must have a direct role in governance and decision-making for water, however there are some aspects within the proposal that need more work. To view and read the document, please visit http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/water/freshwater/freshwater-reform-2013/

I have recently been invited to accompany the Prime Minister to China in April. This visit will celebrate forty years of diplomatic relations between China and New Zealand in conjunction with the fifth anniversary of the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement. It will provide a launching platform for the New Zealand China Council, and the opportunity to host business support events. Also this will be a great opportunity to showcase our Ngāi Tahu businesses.

And finally, if you haven’t already spotted it, the link in the last issue of Te Pānui Rūnaka to the constitutional review was not quite right – http://www.ourconstitution.org.nz is the correct link.

Ngā mihi,