A new community group that emphasises a self-help, proactive approach to village initiatives is focused on the people, land and sea of Ngatangiia and will be formalised today.
Mana Tiaki o Ngatangiia (Custodians of Ngatangiia) MTN has
been active for two and a half months and have already made good headway.
The group has begun with redirecting government’s attention
to the deteriorating state of Muri Lagoon and recommending a ten-point plan of
Organiser Florence Syme-Buchanan said the group wanted to
“remind government of promises made to rescue Muri Lagoon and spur agencies
into action after many years of inaction”.
One of the main recommendations made by Mana Tiaki o
Ngatangiia (MTN) has been for the drafting of an Environment Impact Assessment
(EIA) covering the deepening of Avana Harbour which has had sand build up in
The group started off with just four people and is growing -
as their initiatives and projects gain traction.
“It’s a natural progression that we embrace enthusiastic
locals who will bring with them the love for Ngatangiia, important skills and
experience into Mana Tiaki and formalise our organisation for the benefit of
our village Ngatangiia and our people,” Syme-Buchanan said.
Tonight's meeting is scheduled to be held at the Turangi
Meeting House from 6pm.
The meeting will be led by senior traditional chief Vaikai
After receiving good support for the presentation made on
Muri Lagoon at a public meeting held just over a month ago, and the ten-point
plan the group presented, they decided to host a second meeting to “strengthen
and take the group further”.
A selection of active and passionate locals who share the
group’s vision for the future have been invited to attend.
“This vision is that
we today need to work hard to protect our environment and create a strong,
“Mana Tiaki o Ngatangiia will be addressing many issues in
our community that include health, our most vulnerable, environmental
conservation and enhancement and forming working relationships with a number of
existing national organisations,” Syme-Buchanan said.
The group is preparing recommendations for the terms of
reference that will apply to the EIA and will also recommend a qualified
professional they believe should conduct it, taking into account local
knowledge of the area.
“Local knowledge is one thing we believe cannot be
discounted in any study and yet very little to nothing of local knowledge is
contained in many of the reports on Muri lagoon.”
Vaikai Mataiapo said MTN is a non-political group.
“We are neutral and are not affiliated with any political
party – the focus is our people, our community, our environment. It is these
things that will improve our village of Ngatangiia.”