Group seeks to draw attention to environmental concerns

Wednesday 15 September 2021 | Written by Alana Musselle | Published in Environment, National

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Group seeks to draw attention to environmental concerns
Muri lagoon. GRAY CLAPHAM/21072841

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 immediate action.

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 recent years

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 Mataiapo Tutara.

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, caring community.

“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.”