Māori Development Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta says the efforts of everyone involved in battling the Nelson/ Tasman fires must be acknowledged, especially the support provided by Te Puni Kōkiri to local iwi.
The iwi in Te Tau Ihu are: Ngāti Tama, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Koata, Rangitane, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Apa and Mātāwaka.
“I am pleased some people in the Nelson community are slowly returning to their homes and marae in the area have not been damaged,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
“I’d like to acknowledge Te Puni Kōkiri and Te Pūtahitanga staff who have been supporting iwi in the region to enable Māori to have a voice in this devastating emergency.”
Te Puni Kōkiri provided early financial assistance to Whakatū Marae, and staff were able to connect iwi with the overall response operations.
Iwi are now an integral part of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) working alongside other agencies.
“It was heart-warming to see Whakatū Marae open its doors initially to provide manaakitanga and aroha to their community.
“Local marae are now on stand-by and iwi, alongside Te Puni Kōkiri, are providing cultural support and will continue to participate in the EOC for as long as necessary,” said Nanaia Mahuta.