Waikato Iwi calls for fellowship with Hobbiton

By Taroi Black

As Ngāti Hinerangi near the end of their Treaty Settlement process, they are looking to work with Hobbiton Tours to ensure iwi mana whenua engagement is intact.

Ngāti Hinerangi Iwi spokesperson Joby Hopa said, “We’re really wanting to develop tourism for our people and the prospect of working with Hobbiton Tours will be a potential opportunity for our iwi”.

The Hobbiton tours company takes tourists out to the Matamata sites where The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and The Hobbit film series were directed by Peter Jackson

It is now the country’s third largest tourist destination with their current resource consents for 300,000 visitors a year.

Hopa commented, “We’re looking at ways how we can capitalize on Hobbiton Tours as it brings in so many visitors a year, plus, looking at how we can create tourism for our local waterfall Wairere and establish a tourism destination for it”.

Photo Credited / Te Ao Māori News

Today, brings deep emotions for the Ngāti Hinerangi iwi who will receive financial and commercial redress of $8.1 million. The cultural redress includes 14 sites of traditional, historical and cultural significance to Ngāti Hinerangi.

Joby Hopa who is one of four generations of Ngāti Hinerangi to attend parliament today says this historic event will help boost their iwi in terms giving future generations a voice.

“Our elders is wanting to develop our future generations in terms of te reo Māori and tikanga. Bringing those rangatahi forward to be leaders today".

The settlement will include redress that relates to the co-governance of the Upper-Waihou and Piako catchment, in recognition of Ngāti Hinerangi’s connection with the rivers.

“Today we celebrate the renewed relationship between Ngāti Hinerangi and the Crown which this settlement brings,” Hon. Andrew Little said.

Earlier in May, Ngāti Hinerangi signed their deed of settlement at Te Ōhākī Marae near Matamata which saw the Crown apologise to Ngāti Hinerangi for historical treaty breaches and provide financial redress.  

“When the deed of settlement was signed in May at Te Ōhākī Marae, I thanked Ngāti Hinerangi for their perseverance and commitment to achieving a lasting settlement, and I continue this sentiment today”.

Ngāti Hinerangi had agreed during the signing to gift land back to Tauranga Moana and enter into a shared governance arrangement over other land.