Council attends historic Arowhenua hui

Published: 23 January 2023

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Ashburton District Council attended an historic meeting of all five Councils in Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua’s takiwā (area) earlier this month. The nine representatives from Ashburton District included Councillors, Mayor Neil Brown and Council’s Chief Executive.

Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua Chairperson Fiona Pimm said it was the first time all four district councils, and Environment Canterbury had been welcomed to Arowhenua Marae as a roopu (collective).

“It was good to get mayors from the takiwā together and agree to work collaboratively to honour the treaty,” said Mayor Brown.

“Having regular scheduled meetings quarterly will enhance this important treaty partnership.”

Arowhenua and Ashburton District Council have partnered on a range of projects over the years with Arowhenua’s operational arm Aoraki Environmental Consultancy (AEC) in regular six-weekly hui with Council officers.

All stockwater race closures receive a cultural assessment by AEC, as well as stormwater consent preparations, and other Council bylaws, plans, policies and strategies.

To improve sustainability for future generations, indigenous plantings for rain gardens were recommended by Arowhenua as a stormwater solution for the Ashburton CBD Streetscape Renewal project.

Arowhenua have provided cultural narrative for projects such as the new Library and Civic Centre, of which they gifted the building names Te Pātaka o kā Tuhituhi (Storehouse of publications) and Te Waharoa a Hine Paaka (The gateway of Hine Paaka).

The rūnanga also guide exhibitions at the Art Gallery and Museum and Welcoming Communities initiatives such as the Tūwhana language app.

Mutual priorities across Councils include social wellbeing, improving economic wellbeing for whānau, and job creation alongside environment and water related kaupapa.

Environment Canterbury, Ashburton, Mackenzie, Timaru, and Waimate district councils all operate within the Arowhenua takiwā and representatives from each council attended the hui.

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