KiwiRail and Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui Trust today recognised the importance of their partnership by signing a Kawenata - a formal relationship agreement.
The Kawenata, which was signed at Waikawa Marae, is the first of its kind to be signed by KiwiRail and marks a step forward in the company’s relationships with local iwi throughout Aotearoa.
The Kawenata recognises the importance of the partnership between KiwiRail and Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui and lays the cornerstone for a long-standing relationship based on shared values and mutual understanding.
It was signed by KiwiRail’s Chief Operating Officer Capital Projects and Asset Development David Gordon and the Chair of Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui Rachael Hāte, and the Chair of Te Roopu Manaaki Ron Riwaka.
Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui Trust represents Te Ātiawa whānau who whakapapa back to Te Tau Ihu - the top of the South Island. Waikawa Marae sits at the entrance to the beautiful Tōtaranui (Queen Charlotte Sound) and includes Kura Te Au (Tory Channel).
Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui and KiwiRail have a well-established relationship developed over many years in part because of KiwiRail’s activity in Waitohi Picton, including the Interislander rail and passenger service landing and departing from Waitohi Picton. The Interislander Ferry Precinct sits within the rohe of Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui, and Interislander is a major investor and employer in the region.
Recently, KiwiRail and Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui through its Te Roopu Manaaki, have been working together on the plans for the Waitohi Picton Ferry Precinct Redevelopment and felt it was the right time for the close relationship to be formalised.
The Kawenata will support the mahi and redevelopment in Waitohi Picton in the short and medium term, but its benefits will be much broader in binding both organisations to principles of open collaboration, mutual respect and understanding, and sustainable management of the rohe. This includes the social, cultural, physical, and environmental wellbeing of tangata whenua and the wider community.
It will also ensure the two organisations are looking for opportunities to increase Te Ao Māori experiences for KiwiRail, including knowledge and understanding of the history and culture of Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui and working with the Trust to support employment of its people.
KiwiRail Group Chief Executive Officer Greg Miller said this was the first formal Kawenata signed with an iwi or hapū, but it would not be the last.
“We are working to improve and sustain our relationships with all iwi and hapū impacted by our projects, so the Kawenata signed with Te Ātiawa today is an exciting milestone,” Mr Miller said.
“KiwiRail has a significant Māori workforce and a 30-year-old Māori network - Te Kupenga Mahi (TKM) - with members around the motu working together with iwi and hapū to ensure our relationships are respectful and robust. We are working towards formalising a number of these relationships, so we expect the Kawenata signed today will be the first of many.”
Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui Trust Chair Rachael Hāte said, “As manawhenua of Kura Te Au, we acknowledge and value the effort, contribution and mahi that KiwiRail has afforded us as Kaitiaki.
“This agreement further celebrates how a partnership can work.”
KiwiRail’s iwi and hapū partnership focus is a key foundation of the organisation’s growth strategy.
To bring a stronger Te Ao Māori perspective to the organisation, KiwiRail is also building a new generation of leaders through the Toi Toi Māori Leadership programme.
KiwiRail takes its rail corridor kaitiaki role seriously, while remaining cognisant of grievances involving land in and around the corridor and liaising with the Office of Treaty Settlements to work through Treaty of Waitangi settlement obligations.
Notes for Editors:
KiwiRail Holdings Ltd (KiwiRail)
KiwiRail is a New Zealand state-owned enterprise responsible for rail and Cook Strait ferry operations in New Zealand. Trading as KiwiRail, it is the largest rail transport operator in New Zealand.
Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui
Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui represents Te Atiawa people who whakapapa to Te Tau Ihu (the top of the South Island). The trust was established in December 2012 as the post-settlement governance entity to enable Te Ātiawa to receive treaty settlement from the Crown and also is a recognised partner with the Crown and its associated entities.