Maru, a ka hura! Tangaroa unuhia! Unuhia i mua waka, i roto waka i a Tāne mahuta ki te whai ao ki te ao mārama!
Up to September 2021, Gerrard Albert was the inaugural Chair of Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui, the post settlement body for Whanganui Iwi in respect of legal recognition of Te Awa o Whanganui as a living and indivisible, metaphysical and physical whole, Te Awa Tupua.
The 2017 Te Awa Tupua status flipped the pre-existing paradigm to one which is led by the dictates and values of hapū and iwi, which central government, local government and all communities of the Awa catchment must adopt as the ascendent values applicable to care, planning and decision making for the Awa.
Gerrard worked on the Te Awa Tupua negotiations between 2009-2014, and from 2006 was also the inaugural Chair of the Whanganui Iwi Fisheries entity, Te Whiringa Muka Trust, up to transition of fisheries assets to Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui in 2017.
Gerrard’s current focus is on hapū development, primarily for his Ngā Paerangi and wider karangatanga of the lower reaches of the Whanganui River, including the relearning of tārai waka, ensuring hapū recapture the knowledge and practice of waka building so that waka tētē and waka pakoko might once again ply the waters of the Whanganui on a daily basis.