On 24 August 2012, the Tribunal released its Interim Report on the National Fresh Water and Geothermal Resource Claim (WAI2358). In its report, the Tribunal made the finding that the proprietary right guaranteed to hapū and iwi by the Treaty of Waitangi was the exclusive right to control access to and use of the water while it was in their rohe. The Tribunal did not accept the Crown’s submission that Māori rights should be conceived of only as kaitiakitanga or stewardship. The case illustrated claims as case examples for various water bodies. The examples covered:
- Cold Springs: Poroti, Taniwha-Hamurana
- Hot Springs: Te Arawa, Ohaaki and Waitangi Tribunal reports
- Wetlands/Aquifer: Heretaunga, Raukawa Sth, Rangitaiki
- Lakes: Rotokawau, Rotongaio, Omapere, Horowhenua.
- Rivers: Lower Waikato, Upper Waikato (incl Pouakani), Kaituna and Waitangi Tribunal Reports for Mohaka, Whanganui and Ikawhenua
Experts provided evidence on native title and custom in common law, property rights and management law, historical literature and past Tribunal reports, comparative international law on water, comparative property regimes, and economic evidence on developmental uses, resource structuring and alternative frameworks for resolution of the issues.