Te Tatau Pounamu o Te Awa o te Atua (The Joint Advisory Committee) reflects the connection of Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa ki Bay of Plenty, the community, and DOC. Formed as a requirement under two major Treaty of Waitangi settlements, Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Tūwharetoa (Bay of Plenty), the settlement legislation has created a strategic and advisory function for the committee on specified lands.
It's functions apply to two reserves which have significant biodiversity and natural heritage values, and historical, spiritual and traditional connection to iwi. These are:
- Matata Scenic Reserve (remaining part of the scenic reserve not transferred under the Treaty settlements).
- Te Awa o Te Atua (also known as Matata Wildlife Refuge).
The vision of the committee is to cherish the taonga entrusted to them and to work together to provide advice to DOC. This will enable management, preservation and protection of the natural and cultural values that remain, whilst retaining them as sites of significance and promoting their awareness to all New Zealanders. Other administered areas must have regard to the advice of the committee.
The Joint Advisory Committee is made up of six members. Two nominated by the Ngati Awa Governance entity, two nominated by Ngati Tūwharetoa (BOP) Governance entity and two nominated by the Director General of Conservation. The Minister of Conservation then officially appoints the members.
The members are:
- Pouroto Ngaropo, Ngāti Awa
- Paora Hunia, Ngāti Tūwharetoa (BOP)
- Stan Ratahi. Ngāti Awa, Ngai Te Rangihouhiri
- Gavin Dennis
- Davina Thompson, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Rangitihi
- Clifford Te Riini, Ngāti Tūwharetoa (BOP)