ORC partnership with runanga expanded

Edward Ellison
Edward Ellison
THE Otago Regional Council’s governance level forum with its Māori partners has now officially expanded.

The forum, dubbed Mana-to-Mana, now includes not only Otago rūnanga but also Southland rūnanga with an interest in the Otago region.

"Kāi Tahu Papatipu rūnaka and ORC have underlined their shared commitment to meaningful partnership in managing Otago’s environment, through signing an updated terms of reference for the Mana-to-Mana forum," the council said in a statement late last week.

Council chairman Andrew Noone said the updated terms included an amendment to make sure representatives from Awarua, Waihopai, and Ōraka Aparima rūnanga would be invited to all meetings of the forum and would be able to participate as full members.

Cr Noone said the forum was a "key component" of Ngāi Tahu’s and the council’s partnership commitment.

The statement listed recent partnership outcomes, including adding two iwi representatives on the council’s strategy and planning committee in 2019; the shared development of the council’s significance, engagement, and Māori participation policy last year and "a deepening work programme at a staff level that covers the spectrum of ORC’s activity".

While not a decision-making committee under the Local Government Act, it was "a robust forum for discussion and exploring opportunities and challenges".

Ōtākou upoko Edward Ellison said Otago’s natural environment was facing challenges, "and if we’re to succeed in meeting these challenges we need to recognise our mutual aspirations and responsibilities and work together."