Two years after 18,000 litres of diesel devastated the waters of the Mākōtuku, Uenuku and Ngāti Rangi have announced the creation of a $5,000 education scholarship.
Following the 2013 spill, Turoa ski field operators Ruapehu Alpine Lifts and fuel storage tank manufacturer Petroleum Services Limited (PSL) were found guilty in the Environment Court.
As part of this process Uenuku and Ngāti Rangi submitted victim impact statements and while the judge made no direct reparation order for financial, environmental or emotional cost to local whānau, Petroleum Services Limited director David Kraakman has personally decided to donate $5,000.
Photo: Uenuku trustee Moana Dawson and Ngāti Rangi Pou ārahi Andy Gowland-Douglas look toward a safer future for the region's environment in announcing the application criteria for a $5,000 scholarship created from money given to iwi by Petroleum Services Limited.
Uenuku trustee Moana Dawson said in deciding how to best utilise the money, Uenuku trustees and Ngāti Rangi Pou ārahi Andy Gowland-Douglas were looking to the future.
"No amount of money could lessen the impact the spill had on the people of Raetihi but it's important that we learn from what happened.
"Moving forward, our rangatahi are the ones who'll be looking after our community, carrying the mantle of environmental management and kaitiakitanga of our lands and waterways, and education is an important part of that.
"This is why Uenuku and Ngāti Rangi have decided to create a scholarship specifically for Raetihi locals studying in areas that will benefit the community."
Ms Gowland-Douglas said originally the thought was to restrict the $5,000 PSL award to rangatahi in tertiary study but this has changed. Preference will be given to supporting study that leads to the enhancement or protection of the environment, or that may benefit the community in the future.
"We are thankful David [Kraakman] took the time to try and understand just how important our awa and maunga are.
"His donation will help the scholarship winner or winners complete their studies, but the longer term hope is that their learning will return to benefit the Raetihi community. We hope the scholarship will be another step towards enhancing and protecting our community and its environs.
"There are a few basic criteria like applicants need to live in Raetihi and be able to provide the cost of their planned course of study but, this can be recognised education at any level.
"More importantly, they need to be able to demonstrate how their mahi will benefit the town of Raetihi and the Ruapehu District."
To download an application form click HERE
Applications close on 4 December at 5pm and forms can be downloaded from the iwi websites: uenuku.iwi.nz or ngatirangi.com