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The Whanganui District Inquiry Wai 903 continues this year with the first hearing week in Whanganui from 10-14 March at Paraweka marae, Pipiriki.
The presiding officer, Judge Carrie Wainwright, says, “We’re looking forward to the next block of hearings in 2008. Tribunal hearings are open to the public, and we welcome everyone”.
The Whanganui Tribunal panel for the Whanganui District Inquiry (Wai 903) comprises Judge Carrie Wainwright, Dr Angela Ballara, Dr Ranginui Walker and Professor Wharehuia Milroy.
Hearing week five will begin with a powhiri at 9.00am at Paraweka marae on Monday 10 March 2008.
Claimant groups giving evidence are Tamahaki Council of Hapū; Uenuku Tūwharetoa; Te Whare Ponga Taumatamāhoe Incorporated Society; Te Whare Ponga Whānau Trust, Pipiriki Incorporation on behalf of Ngāti Kurawhatia.
Evidence will be heard on ‘The Scenic Reserves of the Whanganui River, 1896-1986’ and ‘Whanganui National Park, Late 1970s-2000’, by Robin Hodge, commissionee for the Waitangi Tribunal. Approximately 20 tangata whenua briefs of evidence are to be presented during this hearing week.
Key issues to be addressed include: access to education, management of vested lands, the creation of scenic reserves, the creation and management of the Whanganui National Park and tourism within the park, the protection of wāhi tapu, relationships with Crown agencies, environmental impacts of the Tongariro Power Development Scheme, and Native Townships – in particular Pipiriki.
As one part of the site visit the Tribunal members will be taken to Tieke kāinga in the Whanganui National Park.
The Whanganui District inquiry encompasses over 50 claims covering an area stretching from the mouth of the Whanganui River to just north of Taumarunui. It also takes in lands around the Whangaehu River and Waiouru in the east, and the catchment of the Waitotara River in the west.
Four hearing weeks are confirmed for April and May 2008 which include a total of 15.5 hearing weeks planned for the Whanganui District Inquiry. To know more about the Whanganui District Inquiry visit the Waitangi Tribunal website at www.waitangitribunal.govt.nz
To hear coverage of the Whanganui District Inquiry visit AWA FM’s website at www.awa.irirangi.net