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Māori research powerhouse partners with hapū to combat crippling power costs

A Māori-led research project hopes to help whānau in the King Country combat excessive power costs which have plagued the region for many years.

A Māori-led research project hopes to help whānau in the King Country combat excessive power costs which have plagued the region for many years.

Te Mangarautawhiri o Pukehou Trust, led by Ngāti Hinemihi hapū, is partnering with Unitec’s Kaupapa Māori and Indigenous Research Centre, Ngā Wai a Te Tūī, who are championing the project which will explore options for utilising sustainable energy.

The project entitled 'Hihiko o Mangarautawhiri: Power sovereignty for a prosperous whānau and hapū' is underway and is expected to be completed in November 2021.  

The exorbitant costs of power have had a severe impact on Māori health and well being in the region.

Te Mangarautawhiri o Pukehou Trust is a whānau who have been living in and around Taumarunui for generations.  

Patrick Keepa, the co-founder of the trust, whose whānau has experienced and witnessed the impact of power costs for far too long, says kaupapa Māori research will find the best solution for communities and the environment.

“Years ago, our tūpuna came to me in a dream and spoke to me about looking to the whenua, the awa, the sun, and the winds to resolve this power oppression ourselves, as whānau, as hapū, as Māori”.

Keepa and Hermione McCallum-Haire will be working in collaboration with Ngā Wai a Te Tūī to identify a number of clean-energy options in response to power inequities that Māori experience every day due to the excessive electric power and lines costs.

Ngā Wai a Te Tūī researcher, Rihi Te Nana, says, “This is an exciting project and we are honoured to have been approached to collaborate on this whānau-driven kaupapa”.

Hapū representatives believe that in the context of this proposal, the whakataukī, ‘Mā te hau matao o Tongariro ka makariri te tinana, Mā te makariri te tinana ka wiri te kiri, Mā te wiri o te kiri ka piri te tangata, ma te piri o te tangata ka ora te iwi’ reflects the deep-rooted traditional cultural practises that found the philosophical mode of operation. A united hapū represents agreement and a sense of purpose that will deliver positive outcomes for Te Mangarautawhiri o Pukehou and the wider community of Te Rohe Pōtae.

The outcomes of the project are expected to be presented on 30 November 2021.

Browse related videos here:

Native Affairs - Power Play - Part 1, 13 July 2015

Native Affairs - Power Play - Part 2

Native Affairs - Power Play - Part 3

The article firstly published by Te Ao Māori New.