Check out the latest news from around the rohe, thanks to our partnership with RNZ and the Local Democracy Reporting programme.


Last-minute scramble sees every seat filled on Ruapehu, Whanganui, Rangitīkei and Horizons councils

12 August 2022
A last-minute flood of nominations has filled every seat on Horizons Regional Council and district councils in Ruapehu, Whanganui and Rangitīkei – but not every vacancy will be contested.

Late plea for candidates: 'Exciting time to be in local government'

11 August 2022
With fewer than 24 hours before nominations for October’s local body elections close, people are being encouraged to get their nominations in.

Nominations slow for mayoralties, council seats and Māori wards

9 August 2022
With just days to go, district councils in Whanganui, Ruapehu and Rangitīkei have not received enough nominations to fill their chambers.

Whanganui port revamp over budget – but council says ultimately costs could be saved

7 August 2022
Early stages of work on the Whanganui port upgrade are running over budget because of a new way of working under the legal status of the Whanganui River.

Third contender for Whanganui mayoralty

27 July 2022
A singer-songwriter and educator is throwing his hat into the ring for the Whanganui mayoralty.

Local government conference: Focus on elected membership, co-governance and climate change

23 July 2022
A district mayor says the local government sector is ready to launch into a future that embraces more youthful members, Māori and climate change action.

District's youngest councillor enters Ruapehu mayoral race

28 June 2022
Elijah Pue Pue said his campaign would focus on economic development, the climate emergency and removing red tape to boost housing and community wellbeing.

Major new exhibition partners with tribal river entity

23 June 2022
A major new exhibition about the Whanganui River and its people opens on Monday, showcasing new taonga and ancient treasures from its previously unseen Taonga Māori collection.

Rising awareness of rēwena: 'I want to keep the bread alive' – traditional baker

22 June 2022
Māori bread baked in Whanganui using a starter bug handed down over generations will feature on the world stage in a Unesco project.

'A real honour': Māori MP tipped for top constitutional role

14 June 2022
Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe could become only the second Māori to take on the role of Speaker of the House.

'Doing science differently': Study explores whakairo, karakia to improve brain health

10 June 2022
A national science challenge study of Māori brain health will draw on whakairo (carving), karakia (prayer and incantation), mōteatea (chanted song-poetry) and other traditional sources to understand…

Māori health leaders focus on ‘rightful place’ of rongoā Māori

1 June 2022
An iwi health research institute is calling for rongoā Māori to take its “rightful place” in the way Aotearoa cares for people.

‘Point of desperation’: $3.5m to fund new Whanganui mental health crisis-response team

26 May 2022
A new mental health crisis response team will be established in Whanganui with $3.5 million from the Proceeds of Crime Fund.

'Great for Whanganui' – Cargo volume set to triple with coastal shipping boost

26 May 2022
The amount of cargo being shipped through Whanganui is set to triple with new investment to boost coastal shipping around the country.

Māori health advocate to lead global body

25 May 2022
A Māori public health advocate and researcher has become the first indigenous woman appointed to lead the World Federation of Public Health Associations.

‘Three causes of community issues: alcohol, alcohol and alcohol’

12 May 2022
Whanganui District Council has delegated the city’s Mayor to lobby for a Green Party member’s Bill to reduce alcohol harm.

Whanganui River iwi hit back at councillor's claims

6 May 2022
Iwi say they are fed up with being wrongly accused of being a barrier to progress.

Australia looks to learn from Whanganui river personhood

4 May 2022
An Australian politician is consulting with iwi on how they gained the protection of legal personhood for the Whanganui River with the aim of extending protections across the ditch.

'Lipstick on a pig': Ruapehu councillor condemns Three Waters changes

2 May 2022
A Ruapehu District councillor says efforts will continue to put in place a plan for Three Waters reforms that protect property rights and community voice.

Iwi seeks input into NZ history curriculum

28 March 2022
A central North Island iwi leader says hapū want their own authentic stories taught in the Aotearoa New Zealand histories curriculum.

'Extremely dangerous': Iwi leader warns Māori to take extreme care under new Covid-19 strategy

24 March 2022
A Whanganui iwi leader says the government’s decision to ease Covid-19 measures at this time is a disgrace and shocking.

Historic site restoration a boost for tribe’s emotional connection to the land

23 March 2022
Historic sites in and around Tongariro National Park are to be restored by Ngāti Tūwharetoa hapū as part of a new Jobs for Nature project.

More Covid-19 cases in Whanganui Hospital, 40 staff absent

22 March 2022
The number of people with Covid-19 in Whanganui Hospital is climbing as the hospital also deals with a growing number of cases among staff.

Climate change approach tips balance for New Zealand’s only smart city

17 March 2022
Whanganui District Council’s approach to climate change has helped the city win international recognition for the seventh time.

'Running scared': 97% of schools in three regions dealing with impact of virus

15 March 2022
The Ministry of Education says 170 of the Whanganui, Manawatū and Taranaki’s 176 primary, intermediate and secondary schools reported cases among students or staff in the 10 days to Monday.

'Going bush': Lack of Covid-19 testing and reporting worries iwi vaccinators

14 March 2022
An iwi collective working across four North Island regions fears there are many cases they don’t know about.

‘Flocks of kererū and kākā’: Iwi wins $1.92m for ‘inland island’ eco-sanctuary

10 March 2022
Flocks of kererū, kākā and tītī could make a comeback in the central North Island if a tribe’s vision for a 2700ha ‘inland island’ sanctuary moves ahead.

DOC closes Whanganui River journey after paddlers test positive for Covid-19

2 March 2022
The Department of Conservation has closed the Whanganui River to kayakers and canoeists on the upper and middle reaches after four paddlers tested positive for Covid-19.

Children at centre of Whanganui's Covid-19 outbreak

23 February 2022
Covid-19 is spreading fastest among children and teens in the Whanganui and Rangitīkei Covid-19 outbreak as the region faces the second-lowest rate of child 5 to 11 vaccinations in the country.

Māori vaccination rollout stalls: 'Final wall of resistance'

21 February 2022
Māori uptake of first and second vaccinations has stalled as Covid-19 vaccination teams meet “a final wall of resistance”, says a Māori health analyst.

'Workplace, tamariki and a school' among testing sites in Marton Covid-19 outbreak

16 February 2022
Eleven new Covid-19 cases have been found in the rural Rangitīkei area of Marton, bringing the number of active cases in the Marton outbreak to 20.

Whanganui museum appoints curatorial team for famed taonga Māori collection

15 February 2022
The museum’s famed collection of taonga Māori will be overseen by a Māori curatorial collective in the first arrangement of its kind in Aotearoa.

Economic development agency launches new app to pair employers with talent

8 February 2022
Whanganui city’s economic development agency wants to see locals swiping right on a new matchmaking app set up to pair local businesses with skilled workers.

PGF-funded marae upgrade project nears completion

4 February 2022
A $16 million marae renovation programme is drawing to a close, with a third of marae in the west of the North Island, the top of the South Island and the Chatham Islands benefiting from major…

Iwi clinic egged as anti-vaxxers force caution in vaccine rollout for tamariki

3 February 2022
Māori health providers are holding back on Covid-19 vaccinations for children in the face of growing anti-vaxxer protest in the wider Whanganui region. A Te Ranga Tupua iwi collective mobile team and residents in Raetihi. Photo: Supplied / Te Ranga Tupua That is despite the area recording the second-lowest rate in the country of vaccinations for children aged 5 to

Iwi eye back-country stations in bid to lift Māori vaccination rate

1 February 2022
A mobile Covid-19 team in Rangitīkei will head into back-block farm stations in the drive to close the vaccination gap for Māori as the country braces for Omicron.

Omicron: A 10-point list to help whānau prepare

31 January 2022
Māori communities at a dangerously high risk of Omicron spread need more support to prepare for isolation, infection and illness, researcher Rāwiri Taonui warns.

Iwi seeks storage for Omicron food and supplies

31 January 2022
An iwi is searching for a storage area for food and basic supplies as it prepares to support the Whanganui community through the widely expected Omicron outbreak.

'Too late': 100,000 Māori can't get booster until March

26 January 2022
A Covid-19 Māori health analyst says more than 106,000 vaccinated Māori are not eligible for a booster shot until after 1 March – too late to protect against the expected Omicron surge.

Covid-19 analyst calls for Māori and Pasifika priority in under-12s vaccinations

20 January 2022
A Covid-19 Māori health analyst is calling on the government to prioritise Māori and Pasifika children in the 5-11 years vaccine rollout or risk the consequences of a “brown pandemic”.

Whanganui takes on new saliva testing approach as Omicron threat looms

18 January 2022
Whanganui iwi Tūpoho is opening the region’s first Covid-19 saliva testing clinic tomorrow, as part of a community approach it hopes will be picked up around the country.

Iwi collective’s online blitz targets hesitancy over children’s vaccinations

14 January 2022
An iwi collective’s Covid-19 campaign to lift Māori vaccination will go out on the front foot with an online information blitz to tackle hesitancy about vaccinating children.

Iwi set to put safety monitors on upper reaches of Whanganui River

13 January 2022
Whanganui River iwi concerned about the risk of collision between canoeists and jetboaters are to put a team of monitors on the water to ensure the safety of river users.

Vaccine passes and photo ID required at scaled-back Rātana event

12 January 2022
Thousands of Rātana followers, politicians and dignitaries have been asked to stay away because of the threat of Covid-19 and most traditional activities have been called off.

Rapid response Covid-19 teams grapple with shortage of nurses

6 January 2022
A leader of an intensive effort to boost Māori Covid-19 vaccinations says nurses are in short supply and it’s time to look at training more Māori.

Early start to planning around Covid-19 to enable 2023 tribal river journey

6 January 2022
Planning will get underway to enable the tribal river wānanga the Tira Hoe Waka to go ahead in 2023 after being axed for two years running.

Whanganui River tribes axe annual tribal pilgrimage

24 December 2021
The two-week journey down the Whanganui River for the River tribes has been happening every year since 1988, but has been axed for the second year running because of the threat of Covid-19.

2020/2021 Annual Reports are now available

20 December 2021
The Awa FM Executive Committee is pleased to present the station’s Annual Report 2020/2021. You can download the reports here. Don’t forget to register for the Awa FM Annual General Meeting being held next week, Wednesday 22 December at 11am via virtual webinar! Find more information on the AGM below or register here. Annual General Meeting for Te Reo Irirangi

Māori urged to ‘take action and work together’ to combat increased Covid risk

17 December 2021
A Covid-19 Māori health analyst is urging Māori to “take action and work together” to reduce the impact of expected Delta outbreaks as the country begins travelling.

Ruapehu District Council tackles ‘huge’ level of gambling harm

16 December 2021
Ruapehu District Council is proposing a sinking lid policy for pokie machines and venues.

Border opening puts nearly half the Māori population at risk

15 December 2021
A Covid-19 researcher says opening the Auckland border has exposed nearly half of the Māori population to the risk of contracting Delta – and children could be the biggest spreaders.

Covid-19: Iwi collective urges whānau to prepare to be frontline carers

24 November 2021
The 15th of December is D-Day for the Ranga Tupua iwi collective as it scrambles to protect vulnerable communities in the central plateau, Rangitīkei, South Taranaki and Whanganui against Covid-19.

Iwi collective mobilises Covid-19 teams to reach vulnerable communities

23 November 2021
The Ranga Tupua iwi collective will use millions of dollars of government funding to send mobile units into isolated, rural and vulnerable communities to help them prepare for Covid-19.

Up to 33 unvaccinated Whanganui DHB workers could lose jobs

16 November 2021
Up to 33 health workers employed by Whanganui District Health Board will be stood down on pay and may lose their jobs because they have not been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Housing a priority focus for central North Island iwi Ngāti Rangi

15 November 2021
A Ngāti Rangi leader says housing is a top priority for the central North Island iwi.

Six stand for seats on Whanganui board of one of country's biggest farmers

2 November 2021
Six people are standing for two positions on the board of one of the biggest farmers in the country, the Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation.

Crown and iwi appoint new ‘face and voice’ of Whanganui River

28 October 2021
The government and Whanganui River iwi have jointly appointed a new Pou Tupua to act and speak on behalf of Te Awa Tupua, the special status accorded to the Whanganui River.

Iwi leaders to drive World Expo's first ever Festival of Indigenous and Tribal Ideas

25 October 2021
Aotearoa New Zealand is leading a world-first event at Expo 2020 Dubai to support the resurgence of Indigenous and tribal economies.

Māori electoral option will fail Māori voters in council elections – Justice Minister

15 October 2021
Māori voters will only be able to vote for Māori ward candidates in the 2022 local elections if they are already on the Māori electoral roll – and the next opportunity to switch rolls is currently…

New $50m courthouse and police hub for Whanganui

13 October 2021
A new courthouse will be built in Whanganui with “community-led wellbeing” central to its design, Justice Minister Kris Faafoi announced today.

Māori ward advocates plan hīkoi protest against Ruapehu District Council

4 October 2021
Māori advocates will march against Ruapehu District Council in Taumarunui in protest at what they describe as the minimising of Māori representation, participation and “an undertone” of institutional…

Whanganui river leaders bring dawn ritual to Dubai world trade experience

1 October 2021
Whanganui River iwi leaders have performed a dawn ritual in Dubai to dedicate Aotearoa New Zealand’s immersive pavilion “experience” ahead of the opening of the six-month world trade exposition.

Mayors, tangata whenua set up group to develop regional climate action plan

28 September 2021
Seven mayors, the regional council chair and seven tangata whenua representatives are setting up a working group to develop a regional climate action plan for Whanganui-Manawatū.

Ruapehu council holds workshop to help decide on karakia at meetings

22 September 2021
Ruapehu District councillors are to hold a workshop to help decide whether to open meetings with a karakia or any prayer, after a councillor walked out in protest at a karakia.

Whanganui film office set up to boost economy, support local talent

17 September 2021
A Regional Film Office has been established in Whanganui to stimulate economic growth, support local film industry talent and potentially help grow Whanganui as a regional screen production hub.

Horizons Regional Council moves forward with climate risk planning

14 September 2021
Whanganui and Manawatū can expect more hot days and fewer frosts, less rain in the east but more and heavier rain in the west, and more floods, according to a new climate risk assessment.

Iwi partner with council to tackle climate change head on

9 September 2021
The second meeting of the Horizons Regional Council’s Climate Action Joint Committee this week has been hailed as a milestone in the council’s response to climate change and its partnership with iwi.

Horizons Regional Council proposes two new Māori wards

8 September 2021
Horizons Regional Council is proposing two new Māori constituencies for its local election in October next year, each with one elected member.

Vaccination clinics prioritising Māori 'swamped by Pākehā’

7 September 2021
The national strategy of vaccinating against Covid-19 through general and mass events is not working for Māori, a Covid-19 researcher says.

Māori wards: ‘They've wasted our time'

2 September 2021
A Māori wards advocate says Ruapehu District Council’s refusal to lift its proposal for Māori ward seats from two to three is “another example” of why Māori turn their back on participation in local…

Iwi collective urges Māori to take whānau to get vaccinated

26 August 2021
A collective of iwi is urging Māori to take their whānau for Covid jabs without delay.

Marae hui call for more Māori seats in Ruapehu council proposal

16 August 2021
The Ruapehu District Council is being asked to increase the number of Māori seats under its representation proposal.

Whanganui strategy to tackle poor Covid-19 vaccination rates among Māori

9 August 2021
The gap between Covid-19 vaccination rates for Māori and the general population in Whanganui, Ruapehu and Rangitīkei is expected to narrow as Whanganui DHB’s pro-equity strategy gathers pace.

$5m grant puts 'Māori voice front and centre' of health reforms – researcher

27 July 2021
An iwi-owned research institute has received $5m in health research funding for a programme to drive better health outcomes for Māori.

Māori land owners conference to discuss whenua use and opportunities

26 July 2021
Māori landowners are being called to a whenua Māori conference in Whanganui next month to identify and support land development and economic opportunities.

Covid-19 vaccines available for all in Whanganui communities

15 July 2021
Covid-19 vaccinations for entire communities in rural Whanganui have begun.

Suicide prevention strategy calls for radical change to help those in distress

14 July 2021
Many people are living in an extreme state of stress and the mental health services sector is “overwhelmed”, a new community-led strategic group for suicide prevention says.

'Same old colonial approach' – Iwi leader on collective plans

10 July 2021
Group of local and Crown entitities is meant to aid Whanganui region, but draws fire from iwi leader.

Iwi in residence: Whanganui museum trials revolving curatorial role

8 July 2021
Hapū and iwi of the Whanganui region will each have a curator-in-residence under a concept being explored by the Whanganui Regional Museum.

Whanganui 'ready and waiting' for Covid-19 vaccine

7 July 2021
A “surge” of people are lining up for Covid-19 vaccinations across the Whanganui, Ruapehu and Rangitīkei districts as vaccination teams prepare to ramp up the rollout with the expected arrival of one…

Whanganui museum looks to fill Māori curator vacancy

5 July 2021
Whanganui Regional Museum is searching for its first Māori curator.

Manawatū-Whanganui transport plan brings greater focus to rail, buses and bikes

28 June 2021
Horizons Regional Council has signed off a 10-year transport investment plan that prioritises fixing roading problems in and around Palmerston North and speeding up inter-regional road travel.

'It's a win-win' – Council foots bills to plug town's water losses

22 June 2021
A district council is trying to solve the mystery of why hundreds of thousands of litres of drinking water is disappearing every day in a small mountain town.

Marae bridge digital divide through nationwide connectivity scheme

4 June 2021
Marae trusts have been studying digital technology as part of a $24 million plan to connect hundreds of marae around the country with broadband.

Police stats show 'systemic racism' – iwi leader

27 May 2021
Iwi leader Ken Mair is calling for an independent investigation into what he describes as “disgraceful” use of police force against Māori.

Whanganui misses out on Māori wards

25 May 2021
Whanganui has lost the opportunity to introduce Māori wards at next year’s local body elections but Mayor Hamish McDouall says iwi may get seats this year on key council committees.

Covid-19: Whanganui to start vaccinations for Māori and Pasifika over-50s

24 May 2021
Māori health providers in Whanganui will begin vaccinating Māori and Pasifika aged 50 and older against Covid-19, and Whānau aged over 16 who live with them will also be offered the vaccine.

Manawatū District Council revokes two-week-old Māori wards decision

20 May 2021
Manawatū District Council came to a virtual standstill today as councillors and staff faced more than 150 tangata whenua demanding one thing: a Māori ward.

Petition urges Horizons council to move on Māori wards

18 May 2021
Māori wards supporters are planning a final push to show Horizons Regional Council they want Māori wards next year.

Māori wards: Overwhelming support from Māori in Horizons Regional Council survey

17 May 2021
Māori voters who responded to a Horizons Regional Council survey overwhelmingly support bringing in Māori wards next year.

RMA and water reforms: 'Crunch time' for Māori grappling with flood of reforms

15 May 2021
Tangata whenua grappling with a deluge of environmental and water reforms say setting up “super-entities” to deal with water would widen the gap between Māori and decision-making.

Councillor walks out of meeting in protest over opening karakia

13 May 2021
A Ruapehu District councillor left over 12-second speech, saying that he prefers “politics and religion did not mix”.

Whanganui health providers grapple with Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy

11 May 2021
Iwi and iwi health providers pushing for earlier Covid-19 vaccination for Māori over the age of 50 are at the same time searching for ways to deal with vaccine hesitancy.

Mayor says local government review will find 'major systemic' flaws

4 May 2021
Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall says the two-year government review into the future of local government will find major systemic issues but local decisions should continue to be made locally.

Whanganui DHB considers earlier vaccination for Māori over 50

30 April 2021
Whanganui District Health Board is considering earlier vaccination for Māori over the age of 50 in the third tier of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout starting in May.

Housing crisis: Whanganui considers joint initiative with iwi

29 April 2021
Whanganui District Council and iwi are looking at partnering in a joint initiative to address the housing crisis recently described as horrific by local iwi.

Opera House to get the Whanganui ‘H’

9 April 2021
Whanganui District Council’s property and services committee has agreed unanimously to change the name of the Opera House to include an ‘h’ in Whanganui.

Māori land rating bill 'corrects 100 years of disadvantage'

7 April 2021
A Bill giving councils power to write off rates arrears, make unused Māori land unrateable, and allow multiple homes on Māori land is a start to a wider conversation about Māori land, a Ruapehu…

'Something really special' – community-based service for at-risk mothers

3 April 2021
A Māori-led programme for at-risk mothers and their babies in the Whanganui district is an example of allowing community health practitioners to design local services that are relevant and meet…

Tangata whenua given role in council's climate change initiative

3 April 2021
Iwi representatives will be appointed with full voting rights to a new committee formed by the Whanganui-Manawatū Regional Council, Horizons.

Whanganui facing future GP shortage

2 April 2021
Half the general practitioners in Whanganui plan to retire within five years, sparking a search for new doctors for the region.

$20m option on cards to replace Whanganui Velodrome

31 March 2021
Whanganui District Council favours a proposal to replace the city’s failing Velodrome with a $20 million roofed facility.

Māori heritage boosts Whanganui UNESCO bid

30 March 2021
Whanganui is aiming to join 38 cities recognised, hoping to become New Zealand’s only UNESCO Creative City of Design.

Most Māori experience racism every day – new research

22 March 2021
New research released today shows that 93 percent of Māori in Aotearoa experience racism every day, and even more – 96 percent – say racism is a problem for their whānau.

Minister moved by Māori mental health efforts: 'It really did lift my heart'

1 January 1970
The impact of Māori mental wellbeing services and a community effort to prevent suicide in Whanganui, Rangitīkei and Ruapehu left a visiting minister “quite emotional”.