Collaboration key to Waikato regional growth

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

More than 100 Waikato leaders are looking at ways to improve the region's environment, economy and communities.

Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Māori leaders agree collaboration is key in growing the interests of Māori and the region.

Mahuta says the teaching of King Tawhiao - "If there is but one toetoe stem it will break, but if they are together in a bundle they will never break," is a guide to regional success.

“We need to consider how Māori can engage in these discussions to action our needs in order to strengthen all areas of the region of Waikato,” she says.

FOMA Chair Traci Houpapa is laying down the gauntlet at the inaugural Waikato Regional Council gathering for heads in environment, business, councils and iwi to collaborate.

“Māori need to recognise generally that in order for us to succeed and grow our wealth and prosperity we need to partner,” says Houpapa.

“Increasingly we need to take a stronger regional development role and you're starting to see that with Māori authorities and tribal authorities as well.”

“Each one of us can contribute to regional growth,” says Te Ngaehe Wanikau of Te Kotahitanga o Ngāti Tūwharetoa, “It’s not for just the few, but for communities, everyone to be involved.”

New Zealand Racing Board CE John Allen says that acknowledging the history of Waikato will help to advance the region's growth.

“We mark 160 years of the King Movement and its authority is well known by these leaders in its ability to unite our people despite the injustices,” says Waikato Regional Council deputy chair, Tipa Mahuta.

Waikato Regional Council will hold the event annually to continue to build growth in the region.