Minister to meet Ara Tahi leaders to learn how iwi and council work together

Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi says today’s meeting with Ara Tahi, Greater Wellington’s iwi forum, will allow him to hear how the region deals with the wide range of hazards and emergencies it faces and to seek feedback to improve New Zealand’s Civil Defence system.

Mr Faafoi is particularly keen to hear how Ara Tahi has enabled tangata whenua to work with the regional council and how a memorandum of partnership has enabled this.

“The Greater Wellington region has had recent experience of significant earthquakes, and faces hazards ranging from floods and storms, to tsunami.

“We have here too a mature relationship between Ara Tahi and the regional council, and established structural and operational relationships.

“I want to tap into that local experience and knowledge as I consider how we can improve our system to protect New Zealanders from natural disasters and other emergencies, particularly how we work with iwi on emergency management response.”

In January Mr Faafoi released a report, Better Responses to Natural Disasters and other Emergencies in New Zealand.  A technical advisory group (TAG) was formed to provide advice on the most appropriate operational and legislative mechanisms to support effective responses to natural disasters and other emergencies.

Mr Faafoi says he hopes to be in a position to confirm the Government response to the TAG recommendations later this year.

“The current system stands up well when we need it, and has done so throughout the pressures, issues and challenges in recent years. But it is clear more must be done, particularly given the increasing events we have experienced.”

Mr Faafoi says as well as listening to input from Ara Tahi, he is there to acknowledge the commendable efforts and ongoing dedication of the region and its iwi in preparing for, and responding and recovering to a number of challenging emergencies.

“These emergencies have prompted the Government to ask how such efforts can be better supported, and how iwi can be an integral part of emergency responses.  I am interested to hear their thoughts on these matters, and on the recommendations of the Ministerial review into national disasters and other emergency responses more generally.”

The full TAG report and submissions can be found here.

Note:

Ara Tahi is a leadership forum of the six tangata whenua groups and GWRC.  It was established in 1993 as a Māori advisory group and now operates as a joint leadership forum between iwi and Greater Wellington Regional Council, providing an opportunity for discussion on key strategic issues for the region.

Ara Tahi was instrumental in the development of the Memorandum of Partnership – an agreement that outlines how tangata whenua and GWRC work together. The Memorandum of Partnership establishes a structural and operational relationship between the Council and tangata whenua, in the context of the Treaty of Waitangi and the legislation which gives functions, duties and powers to the Council.