Published: 15 December, 2023
Media statement on iRex
Government decision not to invest in KiwiRail’s iRex project a "heavy blow" for iwi, wider community
Friday, December 15, 2023
“As mana whenua in Tōtaranui and Waitohi, the decision to decline investment in KiwiRail’s critical iRex project comes as a heavy blow to Te Ātiawa o te Waka-a-Māui.
“It also comes as a blow for our entire community and the wider Te Tauihu (top of the South) region, who have for many years welcomed visitors via the critical gateway of Waitohi Picton and Te Moana o Raukawakawa Moana (Cook Strait).
“Te Ātiawa o te Waka-a-Māui has been working alongside KiwiRail on the Waitohi Ferry Redevelopment (iReX) as part of Te Au o Rehutai, a unified Mana Whenua governance and advisory group, for a number of years.
“This is a highly complex project, aimed at future-proofing the critical Interislander ferry service, which over successive governments has been neglected. We are disappointed a more proactive and pragmatic approach has not been taken.
“We extend our heartfelt thoughts and concerns for those impacted by the potential loss of related employment and all the associated whānau disruptions this brings - made even more intense at this time of the impending festive season.
“I also want to also acknowledge KiwiRail, our Te Au o Rehutai partners, Port Marlborough, and the many individuals and groups who have worked hard on this project over many years.
“Our rohe, people, and community have navigated through extreme events before and this is no different. We are resilient and will, as we have always done, practice manaakitanga and continue to support our community and the thousands of manuhiri who pass through our rohe every year.”
Chairperson, Te Ātiawa o te Waka-a-Māui Trust