New project to connect iwi with Manawatū River

Tū Te Manawa, a new project to enhance iwi and hapū involvement in the Manawatū River has received a $534,000 grant from Te Mana o Te Wai Fund. 

The Rangitāne o Tāmaki Nui a Rua project was launched at the Te Manawa Art, Science, and History Museum recently. 

Tū Te Manawa project executive Hone Morris says the overall purpose of the project is to enhance iwi involvement in the river’s restoration, and increasing its mana through communicating stories that reconnect iwi and hapū with their awa.

“The Manawatū River runs from Norsewood to Foxton Beach. It encompasses many tributaries and crosses the Tararua, Manawatū andHorowhenua Districts.

Ko Manawatū te awa, he awa tapu, hei piringa mauri, hei piringa tangata. The sacred river of Manawatū, where the life-force remains to bring people together.

As part of the project, eight whare will be constructed at culturally significant sites. The first, at Ferry Reserve, is due for completion at the end of November," Morris says. 

The whare will house historical, cultural and scientific narratives, and provide a place for people to engage at the river's edge, Morris adds.

Additional funding was also provided by Rangitāne o Tāmaki Nui a Rua who gave $40,000, Horizons Regional Council provided $220,000, Palmerston North City Council $10,000, and Tararua District Council $10,000.

Horizons Regional Council has actively supported Manawatū River iwi’s application to the Te Mana o Te Wai fund through committed resource and staff time.

Horizons natural resources and partnerships manager Dr Jon Roygard says that the council are committed to partnership with iwi, hapū and any other groups or people that share the same aspirations and goals.

“Collaborations such as Tū Te Manawa help generate positive and collective outcomes around the enhancement of our freshwater environments,” says Dr Roygard.