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Maori groups calling for key role in geothermal direct use at Rotorua

Rotorua geothermal spring, New Zealand (source: flickr/ Stuck in Customs, creative commons)
Parker O'Halloran 29 Aug 2017

The Maori have embraced Rotorua's geothermal landscape and harnessed its energy for generations, and they want to continue to develop this resource with a $150,000 grant.

Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand: Te Tatau o Te Arawa chairman Te Taru White is calling for Te Arawa to be at the centre of Rotorua’s geothermal energy conversation following National’s $150,000 announcement to explore geothermal opportunities in the Bay of Plenty.

For generations, Te Arawa has embraced Rotorua’s geothermal landscape and harnessed its energy.

Te Tatau o Te Arawa chairman Te Taru White says, “Te Arawa has always had an unbroken relationship with the geothermal sources. A lot of the ng?wha used for bathing, cooking, all those sort of things, have been unbroken.”

However, only 5% of Rotorua’s geothermal capacity is being applied to geothermal resources. A number that the Te Tatau o Te Arawa chair Te Taru White says needs to be explored.

“To be able to use a resource that our people have used way back in time to now, it’d be nice to think that we can actually apply it to warming houses, apply it in a way that our people can afford it, apply it in a way to use those geothermal resources for family, for papak?inga housing. For example, being able to zoom in and create heat resources for collective and community uses. Heck, it’s a no-brainer.”

The Rotorua Lakes Council has confirmed that National’s $150,000 commitment will go towards establishing a geothermal business development entity. White says the council should consult Te Arawa.

“I might suggest that Te Arawa will play a prominent role in that space. I know conversations have been had around the table about more involvement of Te Arawa land owners in this conversation, so I expect that to happen.”

The development entity, Te Toi Moana Geothermal Economic Action Plan, now has the task of appointing a business development leader.

Source: M?ori Television