Ngāpuhi are looking for words to be put into action in order to clean up Lake Ōmāpere.
The lake, near Kaikohe, is Northland’s largest lake. It is a taonga to the iwi, and was at one time an important source of food and water.
The lake’s water comes from rainfall and also fissures on the lake bed. But degradation of the forests which once surrounded the lake led to increased sedimentation.
Now, it is often subject to algal blooms and last month locals spent two days removing dead birdlife from the lake and its surrounds.
Te Rūnanga-Ā-Iwi-Ō-Ngāpuhi chairman Wane Wharerau said the lake’s condition had been dire for some time.
He said the iwi was looking for support to begin to restore the mauri of the lake.
“So there’s been several action plans and several studies … but what we want is to get some stuff actually done, and that’s driven from central government to local government.
“The role of those two groups [is] to provide the funding, that’s what we pay our taxes for. So why can’t we just get a move on with this?”
The rūnanga had announced they would support hapū leaders who wanted assistance in moving the clean-up project forward.
Wharerau said Ngāpuhi had an important responsibility to clean up the lake.
“This is not a poke at any one group or people. Māori, Ngāpuhi, ourselves had a responsibility and dropped the ball. But let’s recover that issue now and move forward positively and get something done about our lake.
“This is a Ngāpuhi taonga and it’s incumbent on Ngāpuhi to do something about it, with the assistance of our tauiwi brethren.”