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Logically, any issues affecting it must therefore be subject to reaction from those affected. The ownership concept in relation to Waikato River is one which brings together people from different backgrounds and questions their understanding of both leadership and authority in context of natural resources found within their localities. The level of emotions elicited in the quest to claim of ownership of the river cannot be best described than by the words of ‘Iwi, ’ the principal negotiator for Waitangi Treaty who asserted that, “We don’t need a bloody court document to tell us we own the river, we know we do (Field notes, 2000). ” It’s one that no doubt puts to battle, beliefs of a society and the Crown.

This is what might be termed as a populist statement in the face of crisis. Nonetheless, it does eliminate the possibility of the communities claim for ownership being true. The concept of ownership as expressed by tribal leaders basically centered on the interests of the community. Virtually each and every society has its concepts which are considered kin to the western ownership theory. Nonetheless, what one culture considers ownership is not the same as what another culture would consider as ownership.

In essence, ownership concept differs from one sphere to another. According to Stokes (1994) the ownership of Waikato River within context of land claim by the locals was not a claim for exclusive right of ownership of the River but rather they primarily wanted to participate to the river’s management, within precincts of the Maori values. This view is entrenched in the words of the claimants as published in Ministry for the Environment (2005) which said, “We desire clean water, and we are interested in talking about co-management rather than ownership.

Sir Robert Mahuta’s view prevails that we know we own the river but we are interested in co-management (Ministry for the Environment, 2005, pp. The leader’s position is interpreted by a majority of tribe members as well as other persons of interests within precincts of the Waikato River. Nonetheless, in contemporary western community property ownership is the primary means through which status is acknowledged. It is important to the tribunal’s findings which acknowledged that the claimants did not seek to gain from non-commercial uses of the water bodies in which they

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