Whakamoemititia Te Atua mō ōna manaakitanga ki runga i a tātou. Ka tangihia, ka poroporoakitia ngā mate huhua o te motu. Nā koutou mātou i ārahi i tēnei ao kōmiro kia eke panuku, kia eke Tangaroa. Kua karangahia koutou e Tahu Kumea, e Tahu Whakairo, ā, hanatu rā koutou ki te kāinga wairua i te rangi, ki ngā mātua tīpuna. Okioki mai rā. Te pito mate ki te pito mate. Te pito ora ki te pito ora.

Kei taku karangatanga maha, kei taku iwi, mauri ora ki a tātou. Nāia te miha, te owha atu ki a koutou i runga i ngā tini āhuatanga o te wā. Ko te tūmanako ia e ora ana koutou i te nohotahi ki ō koutou whānau, ki ō koutou hapū, ki tō koutou rahi.

April has been all about fresh water or that is how it has felt at times. Six regional hui were held throughout Te Waipounamu during April, initiated by the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group, which has the task of working with the Crown as it develops a new framework for the management of fresh water in Aotearoa.

There was unanimous support for continuing to explore a rights – based approach to the allocation of freshwater to create certainty for all users and accommodate iwi/hapu rights and interest in freshwater. The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group will hold a further round of regional hui in August to talk about iwi rights and interests in freshwater.

At the beginning of May I attended the opening of the Greenpark school site alongside Te Taumutu Rūnanga and the Te Waihora Management Board. Through the Greenpark initiative, the school buildings will be re-used for education and community activities. It will serve as a home and collaborative hub for a range of exciting Te Waihora activities.

Mayor Kelvin Coe (Selwyn District Council) and ECan Commissioner David Caygill were also there. It was a great day with good company, kai and an opportunity to kōrero with a wide range of people from the community. Fonterra is funding operational costs at Greenpark and their generosity is appreciated.

I’m also very pleased that, through the new Selwyn Catchment Variation 1 plan, livestock will now be fenced from most of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere. This trailblazing plan is a first for local government and it gives Ngāi Tahu more power to protect our taonga waterway.

Farmers in specified areas near the lake will now have to consult with Ngāi Tahu when applying for resource consents. This is another exciting step forward in the restoration of a lake that has had a special place in Ngai Tahutanga for centuries.

During May the Te Waka a Māui Iwi Chairs forum was held in Te Papa Wellington. I’m enjoying the progress we are making as a forum and collective. We have identified four priority areas which are Freshwater, Climate Change, Oranga (Social wellbeing), and Political engagement.

Also the Iwi Chairs Forum was hosted by Ngāti Apa in Whangaehu. We had another productive hui. A key priority that came out of this hui is how we improve our influence in achieving gains for whānau, hapū and iwi.

A workplan has been put in place and the work load has been shared with iwi to ensure that the priorities are achieved. The next Iwi Chairs Hui will be hosted by Waikato-Tainui in August.

Finally I had the privilege of being at Government House in Auckland to celebrate Kukupa Tirikatene receiving the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and Education.

I regard Uncle Ku as my rangatira, mentor and a very dear friend. Throughout the years, he has supported me in my role as Kaiwhakahaere and when I meet and engage with iwi.

E taku rangatira, ka nui te māriri ki a koe. E kore te puna o mihi e māhiti.

Tā Mark Solomon.

Tā Mark Solomon.