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