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Foundation North and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei sign Kōtuitanga

04 December 2023   /   News & reports

Foundation North, the community trust for Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Tai Tokerau, has strengthened its relationship with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, mana whenua and ahi kā of central Tāmaki and the Waitematā, with the signing of a kōtuitanga – a document that signifies the lashing or joining together of our shared purpose, and records aspirations for the future development of our relationship together.

On Monday 4 December 2023, Foundation North leaders joined Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei rangatira at Ōrākei Marae to further establish and bind their association through a formal signing of the kōtuitanga and an exchange of taonga. The kōtuitanga and accompanying five year funding partnership will see Foundation North invest $7.5m towards Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei’s community-based projects, services and sustainability initiatives, with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei investing an equal amount in existing or new programmes and initiatives as part of its Ōrākei Masterplan.

Walter Wells, the Foundation’s Chair, said the Foundation valued and were inspired by the mahi that had already been done by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei in pursuit of its vision kia rere te kāhu pokere ki ngā taumata tiketike, to soar and fly to the highest heights.

“Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has demonstrated and continues to demonstrate phenomenal leadership, resilience, fortitude and commercial acumen; central to this is the enduring commitment to the prosperity of its people. We believe the establishment of this partnership will enhance the efficiency and coordination of investment, while promoting trust and transparency between parties. We look forward to supporting Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei as they allocate where and how funds are applied to initiatives spanning hauora, healthy homes, te taiao, culture and language and to jointly determining new opportunities to partner together.”

Ngarimu Blair, Deputy Chair of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust, acknowledged this exciting and positive partnership for Tāmaki Makaurau and Aotearoa. "This is an investment that will be cherished and put to good use, so that we can build upon the foundations laid by our tūpuna and continue to make our city the great city that we know it can be, also further contributing to the wider Taitokerau, and country."

Taonga were shared by both parties at the signing of the kōtuitanga to recognise this hononga nui. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei gifted an Īnanga Mere pounamu to Foundation North to symbol its acknowledgment of this partnership and the many opportunities ahead for us all.

In turn, Foundation North gifted a tapou, ipu and pākē (mat, container and cape) woven by Te Hemoata Henare, a master weaver from Te Tai Tokerau, and a carved turuturu (a traditional needle used amongst other things on the lashings that hold waka together). This was carved from pōhutukawa by David Ngawati, also from Te Tai Tokerau. The design of the carving represents Tane-nui-ā-Rangi, and the journey of Tane to acquire the kete of knowledge. Thus symbolising our combined journey of knowledge and higher learning with the support of wider whānau.