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The Waikato River Authority has a new iwi co-chair with the election of Tipa Mahuta.
A Waikato-Tainui appointee, Mahuta replaces long-standing authority board member Roger Pikia (Te Arawa River Iwi Trust) who has been in the role for the past two years, the Waikato River Authority said in a statement Saturday.
There was unanimous support for her election which was made by the authority's five river iwi appointees.
Mahuta said she is delighted to have the unanimous support of the river iwi and acknowledged the contribution of Pikia and others involved in the achievements over the past ten years.
“Me mau tonu tataou ki te ohaaki i waihotia mai‘ Tooku Awa Koiora”. The importance of the awa to Waikato cannot be overstated, to have such a key role in restoring and protecting the Waikato River is very humbling. More than ever before we now have the opportunity for the communities of the river to come together to ensure the wellbeing of the river for future generations.”
The new co-chair election was made at the authority's AGM Saturday, which marked the body's ten year anniversary. In ten years of funding river clean-up projects, the authority said it has funded more than 360 projects with $56 million.
The Crown co-chair, Paula Southgate, was previously appointed by the Minister for the Environment according to legislation.