Source: New Zealand Government
The Lake Ōkaro lakebed has transferred to Te Arawa Lakes Trust, Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Kelvin Davis announced today.
Kelvin Davis joined Te Arawa at Te Papaiōuru Marae in Rotorua to celebrate the reinstatement of Te Arawa Lakes Trust as a key decision maker over the bed of Lake Ōkaro – a role they have not held for over 100 years.
“Through the hard work of many, we have been able to achieve something which was not possible when Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Act was passed in 2006,” Kelvin Davis said.
“The transfer of the last of the Rotorua Te Arawa lakebeds has enabled the final piece of the Settlement Act to be put in place.
“Some things will stay the same. Lake Ōkaro will remain open to the public and Te Arawa will continue to welcome New Zealanders and visitors alike.
“Some things will change. Individuals and businesses that wish to build or change structures on Ōkaro and apply for commercial activities that involve the bed and the water will now need the consent of both Te Arawa and the Crown,” Kelvin Davis said.
Te Arawa Lakes Settlement provided for the transfer of 14 of the region’s lakebeds to Te Arawa, including Lake Ōkaro. However, Lake Ōkaro was classified as a reserve at the time and came under the ownership of the (then) Rotorua District Council. In 2014 the Rotorua Lakes Council and the Trust reached agreement and the Crown resolved to transfer the lakebed.
“With the transfer of the lakebed, management of the Lake remains within the Rotorua Lakes Strategy Group Partnership, a group that truly represents how Māori, Crown and council can work together to realise the promise of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, post-settlement,” Kelvin Davis said.
“The whole community will benefit from an improved lake as the Partnership works through plans for water improvement.
“Our Government is committed to building strong and ongoing relationships with Māori. The lake is a taonga, so giving effect to what Te Arawa and Rotorua Lakes Council agreed on with Ōkaro has been a priority for the Crown as a Treaty partner,” Kelvin Davis said.