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Published: 2004-06-14 00:00:00

Environment Waikato and Ngati Maniapoto representatives sign an agreement tomorrow (Tuesday) to manage improvement works on the Waipa River.

The Regional Council has been working for two years with two Ngati Maniapoto Regional Management Committees, Nehenehenui and Rereahu, on the proposed river works (Upper Waipa River – Toa Bridge to Tunawaea Slip) as part of obtaining a non-notified resource consent and developing a River Management Plan.

The river environment has been identified as being of high importance to Ngati Maniapoto, and through consultation a comprehensive management plan was developed to address important environmental and cultural issues. This is the first step in achieving a Plan for the whole of the Waipa River and its tributaries.

Consent approval for the works was granted in July last year, following 12 months of consultation with Fish and Game, local landowners, Department of Conservation and Ngati Maniapoto Regional Management Committees.

The committees were concerned about the effects of the proposed work on the natural ecosystems of the river. Environment Waikato has agreed to collect biological data to assess effects on species diversity and vitality throughout the works, observed by iwi. Opportunities to train iwi in collecting ecological data will also be considered.

An extensive goat control programme has been established and adjacent landowners will be encouraged more secure fencing of river margins to exclude stock.

The Council will develop an active replanting programme in consultation with landowners to help stabilise gravel, using locally sourced willows and native plants where possible to control erosion. A plant pest eradication regime will also be established for the upper Waipa River valley.

Kaitiaki from Ngati Maniapoto will provide advice on tribal concerns and deal with any discoveries of artefacts or waahi tapu sites.