Ko Taupiri te maunga (Taupiri is the mountain), ko Waikato te awa (Waikato is the river), he piko he taniwha (and at every bend, there is a chief).
Approximately 250 participants attending a two-day regional economic development workshop at Lake Karapiro were challenged to determine regional priorities that would accelerate the economic opportunity across the region and redistribute prosperity to communities that really need some attention. Hon. Shane Jones opened the summit and commented on the opportunity ahead of business leaders, iwi, local government and tertiary establishments if they took time to determine some key strategic projects to advance.
Summit participants were introduced to the new name for the Waikato Regional Economic Development Agency – Te Waka. The name represented the importance of uniting with one common objective for the region and all stakeholders and tangata whenua paddling together in order to reach the destination. Local tohunga whakaaro Warren McGrath was present at the summit carving a waka and each participant was invited to carve or plait the lashings required in the artists interpretation of Te Waka. The first carved chip was made by Minister Jones who assured everyone that there would be a future opportunity to consider the recommendations from the summit.
At every bend, there is a chief in the Waikato and in this instance a leader committed to improving the social, cultural, economic and environmental wellbeing of the Waikato region.