It was a big day for Te Reureu as they presented their claim at the Rangitīkei River Hearing held earlier this year in Palmerston North. Claimants Bruce Smith, Hare Arapere and Turoa Karatea gave evidence on a wide range of issues concerning the river. This included growing up on the Rangitīkei River, customary fishing, bridging and flood protection. They also dealt with important issues such as gravel extraction and pollution of the river.
In support of their presentation Te Reureu brought – a mauri stone for the Rangitikei River. The valuable taonga is at present kept in the Te Manawa Museum, Palmerston North.
The Waitangi Tribunal hearing was specifically for the Rangitikei River and its tributaries. It was held at the Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North from 30 May to 2 June. The river runs through two enquiries districts, the Porirua ki Manawatū and the Taihape: Rangitikei ki Rangipo and therefore had two sets of tribunal panels. The tribunal heard the evidence from the two major reports written on the river; Rangitikei and its tributaries by David Alexander and the cultural perspectives report by researchers Paul Meredith and Dr Robert Joseph. Iwi/hapū also involved those who lived at the upper reaches of the Rangitikei at Taihape and Mokai Patea. This included hapū of Ngāti Tuwharetoa and Ngāti Kahungunu.