Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Act 2017

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Schedule 8 Ngā Ripo o Te Awa o Whanganui

s 82

Statement of significance

Ko ngā ripo, he pou whakamārama ki rō wai nō ia hapū. He matapihi hoki ki te ao wairua, ma te tangata hei whakatika ngā ahuatanga tangata ki runga wai, ki roto wai, ki ngā tahataha, ngā ahuatanga katoa o te Awa, ngā ahuatanga katoa o te tangata, e rite ana rāua.


There are more than 240 identified ripo (rapids) on the Whanganui River between Taumarunui and the mouth of the River. These ripo have distinctive ancient names, which are protected and maintained by the hapū associated with each of those ripo. These names, and their associated korero, remain central to both the relationship between each hapū of Whanganui Iwi and the Whanganui River and to the relationship of Whanganui Iwi collectively with the River.


Whanganui hapū hold that each ripo of the Whanganui River is inhabited by a kaitiaki (spiritual guardian), which is particular to each hapū. Each of these kaitiaki is a mouri and is responsible for maintaining the lifeforce and therefore the health and well-being of the Whanganui River and its people. Each hapū and the whānau within that hapū are responsible collectively for maintaining the mouri of the ripo and, in so doing, the collective mouri of Te Awa Tupua. These kaitiaki of the ripo provide insight, guidance, and premonition in relation to matters affecting the Whanganui River, its resources and life in general. Whanganui Iwi and the hapū and whānau of Whanganui look to these kaitiaki for guidance in times of joy, despair, or uncertainty for the guidance and insight they can provide.


Ripo also have a practical importance for Whanganui Iwi and the hapū of Whanganui. Each ripo has unique physical characteristics and is valued accordingly. Most were valuable fishing locations, where pā tuna were constructed in the fastest-flowing current to catch tuna migrating downstream and utu piharau were constructed in the slower-flowing water to catch piharau migrating upstream. The appropriate location, construction, and maintenance of these pā requires specialised knowledge and is imbued with kawa and tikanga. The exercise of rights and responsibilities by hapū and whānau in respect of these pā is an expression of mana and an acknowledgment of the rights and responsibilities of those hapū and whānau to both the ripo and the Whanganui River as a whole.”