Meridian signs MOU with Southern Ngāi Tahu rūnanga to work on a green energy future

New Zealand’s largest renewable energy generator Meridian Energy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with key southern Ngāi Tahu Rūnanga, which will see them work together across a number of projects in the Murihiku/Southland region around green energy.

This is an important milestone for Meridian, Murihiku Regeneration, the Awarua Rūnaka and Hokonui Rūnanga, who are part of the Southern Green Hydrogen partnership investigating new industries and opportunities for renewable energy alongside the Tiwai Point smelter.

Together there are four Murihiku Rūnaka, who collectively are the Murihiku Hapū, and who hold mana whenua and mana moana over the Murihiku/Southland region. Each of the Murihiku Rūnaka hold mana whenua in their own right and have kaitiaki responsibilities over its respective lands and seas.

The purpose of the MOU is to focus on a range of initiatives – including the future of the Tiwai Smelter site and a number of green energy projects.

“The MOU establishes a foundation from which the partners can communicate, strategise and collaborate for the benefit of the local community and Aotearoa New Zealand,” says Tā Tipene O’Regan.

“It acknowledges our shared values and aspirations for a sustainable economy and a thriving community.”

Meridian’s chief executive Neal Barclay said the MOU was something the company had been working towards for some time and was based on strong relationships both operationally and at a governance level.

“This is a significant milestone in our relationship, but there is much work still to do,” says Barclay.
“We can all see exciting opportunities for green energy in the region and this MOU confirms our commitment to working together to realise them.

“Meridian respects the significant opportunity we have with Ngai Tahu Rūnanga to create opportunities that are good for iwi, the environment and that build a broader green ecosystem that Aotearoa New Zealand can be proud of,” adds Barclay.

Murihiku green energy lead and Upoko Terry Nicholas said after decades of relying on the smelter as the engine room of the economy, the region was on the brink of an economic rejuvenation.

“Our challenge is to make sure that these opportunities support long term planning across Murihiku Regeneration’s four pou - social, cultural, economic and environment.”

The key principles of the MOU are:

  • Apply Ngāi Tahu mana whenua as the basis for our approach
  • Recognise that Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu will act to ensure Ngāi Tahu aspirations of tino rangatiratanga are realised.
  • Use kotahitanga to build unity and togetherness
  • Use matāuranga Ngāi Tahu to help build a regenerative economy that will support future generations through innovation, a focus on protecting the environment and effective decision making.
  • Actively work together to support and nourish the te ao tūroa ki Murihiku.
  • Develop a long-term reinstatement and regeneration plan
  • Actively support the development of a green energy ecosystem that enables Murihiku Hapū aspirations and works in the national interests of Aotearoa.


For media queries, please contact:
Meridian Energy Media Team
0800 948 843