Aroha mai whanau there was no cellphone service at the marae, so thanks to John O’Hare for filming most of the hui.
SUMMARY OF WHAT HAPPENED: The korero was facilitated by Te Runanga-a-Iwi o Ngati Kahu and, as the video clips below show, it was a well-attended hui that unfolded in four stages, beginning with hakatau and hakautu. https://www.facebook.com/NgatiKahu/videos/2069181946449344/
The second and most compelling stage was korero from the haukainga, hapori and hapu. First up was Kathleen O’Hare (na nga whanau Mete me Popata) a local hapu member and resident who has been mandated by Kareponia Marae and Te Runanga-a-Iwi o Ngati Kahu to lead this take. Kathleen’s korero laid out the issues and options, and the priority goal which is to get the speed limit lowered between Kaingaroa and Awanui to levels that are appropriate for a school, two marae, a kohanga reo, and a community of more than 100 households with 15 school bus stops between then. https://www.facebook.com/NgatiKahu/videos/2069292753104930/
Kathleen was followed by Haki Matiu-Beets who presented several short video clips showing the lived experiences of those who live on Kareponia Hill. The value of these video records is massive - it’s true that one picture is worth a thousand words. https://www.facebook.com/NgatiKahu/videos/2069345256433013/
Next up were Robert and Elsie Ngawhika whose young son was hit and badly hurt on the Hill by a speeding vehicle earlier this year. The trauma and fallout for their family continues to this day. https://www.facebook.com/NgatiKahu/videos/2069361573098048/
After Robert and Elsie had spoken, the hui was opened to the floor and speaker after speaker rose to share their stories of drivers speeding past stationery school buses and drivers causing accidents, injuries, deaths and near misses.
The third stage was a presentation from the NZTA roopu who shared information about their current review of the national roading network and where Kareponia sits in that context. Essentially, Kareponia is a safety hotspot for the NZTA, but it’s a bureaucracy that has to follow certain processes (including wider consultation with other ‘stakeholders’) so it can’t / won’t lower the speed limits immediately.
The fourth stage of the hui was a discussion about where to next. Unfortunately, by that time our camera had run out of kaha. But I can report that this was without a doubt the most robust part of the hui with lots of questions and suggestions for NZTA. They were also reminded that they are dealing with sovereign people whose tupuna signed both He Hakaputanga o Te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni and Te Tiriti o Waitangi. So the Crown and it’s agents (including NZTA) must make sure their people behave themselves while in our rohe, and if they fail to do it, then we will. But our preference is always to work together.
By the end of the hui we had reached agreement that we would all work toward the priority goal of reducing the speed limits ASAP, and will execute the following interim steps over the next couple of months:
1. NZTA will install two active electronic signs showing drivers what their speed is; the hui made it clear that the preferred locations of these signs are outside Kaingaroa school and somewhere between the Kareponia sign and Mahimaru Marae (possibly on the hill above Kareponia marae).
2. NZTA, Kareponia marae and Te Runanga-a-Iwi o Ngati Kahu will make joint media releases to raise public awareness of the issues and options.
3. The Marae and Runanga will approach Police about installing a speed camera in the vicinity.
4. We will also approach local trucking firms and contractors about the sidewind impact of their big rigs on pedestrians (especially our tamariki mokopuna) who have to walk across or along SH10 between Kaingaroa and Awanui.
5. We will also work with Police, FNDC and other agencies on public awareness raising .
6. NZTA will meet with us again in 6-8 weeks to report answers to any questions they haven’t already answered, as well as to report progress on the primary goal.
The hui ended in karakia led by papa Chris Adams and was followed by a shared afternoon tea. When the NZTA roopu left, they drove up to Mahimaru marae to see for themselves the conditions under which people have to enter and exit from there.
In conclusion, there was an abundance of well-informed, evidence-based korero from the haukainga, hapori and hapu, and a willingness from NZTA to work with us.
Huge thanks are owed to Kareponia marae and Kohanga Reo for their tumeke manaaki, and to NZTA for their engagement. But biggest thanks to the haukainga, hapori and hapu for your stories, videos and caring. Haere tonu tatou katoa ki runga i te tika te pono me te aroha.