The Crown and Ngāi Tuhoe have announced the appointment of the inaugural members of Te Urewera Board, which will be the primary decision maker for Te Urewera under legislation passed in the House today.
Te Urewera Bill provides for Te Urewera to be established as a legal identity, with its own intrinsic values, and vests the current National Park land in that identity.
The Board will be the primary decision maker for Te Urewera. It is charged with governing Te Urewera so as to strengthen the connection between Tūhoe and Te Urewera, preserve its ecosystems and biodiversity, and provide for continued public use and recreation.
"Recognising Te Urewera has its own identity confirms Tūhoe's view that it is not something which anyone owns," Te Uru Taumatua Chair Tamati Kruger said. "Te Urewera exists in its own right, and we as Tūhoe and New Zealanders have the responsibility to recognise its mana and commit to its care and protection."
"This bill recognises that Te Urewera is treasured by Tūhoe people and by the nation as a whole," Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson said. "The Crown and Tūhoe look forward to working with the Board to seek UNESCO biosphere status for Te Urewera."
Four members of the inaugural Te Urewera Board were appointed by Mr Finlayson and Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith, and four members were appointed by Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua (the Tūhoe governance entity).
The membership of the Board reflects both the relationship of Tūhoe to their homeland of Te Urewera, and the significance to the nation of this distinctive and remote natural area.
Te Urewera Bill replaces the National Parks Act 1980 as the primary legislation providing for the governance and management of Te Urewera. It gives effect to redress provided for in the historical settlement agreed by the Crown and Tūhoe.
The Board members are Tamati Kruger, Matthew Te Pou, Lorna Taylor, Te Tokawhakāea Temara, Rt Hon Jim Bolger, John Wood, Dave Bamford and, Jo Breese. The Board will choose its chair from among the Tūhoe appointees.
"This is a significant but very positive change for the natural treasures in the Te Urewera," Dr Smith said. "The government's management of this area has been contentious and divisive given its sorry past. This is a very experienced Board capable of moving on from this difficult history and enabling Tūhoe and the Crown to work together on its future governance and management."
The Board members are appointed for a three year term. After the initial term, the Board's membership will change to comprise six members appointed by Tūhoe and three appointed by the Minister of Conservation. The chair will be selected from among the Tūhoe appointees.
The Te Urewera Board will be established when the Te Urewera Act takes effect, which is expected to be late September.
Board member biographies
Dave Bamford (Lower Hutt) is a consultant with Tourism Resource Consultants and has over 30 years' experience in sustainable tourism development in New Zealand and overseas. He has been a member of the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Recreational Council and was the President of the New Zealand Alpine Club.
Rt Hon Jim Bolger (Te Kuiti) was Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1990-1997, and the Ambassador to the United States from 1998-2001. He had held numerous high profile appointments, including chairman of New Zealand Post and its subsidiary Kiwibank, Chair of Kiwi Rail and Chancellor of Waikato University.
Jo Breese (Wellington) is an environmental consultant and member of the New Zealand Conservation Authority. She is a former Chief Executive of World Wildlife Fund-New Zealand, a Director of Antarctica New Zealand.
Tāmati Kruger (Taneatua) is the Chairman of Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua, and was the Tūhoe Chief Negotiator for the Treaty settlement. A recognised authority in Te Reo Māori and customary practices, Tāmati has worked in tribal research and development for many years.
Matthew Te Pou (Taneatua), a Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua Board member, has had a long career in the army, and a former coach of the Maori All Blacks. Matt was a facilitator of the Central North Island Forestry settlement, and is the past Chairman of the Central North Island Holdings Company.
Lorna Taylor (Waikaremoana), a Board member of Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua, was a Trustee representing the Waikaremoana region to the mandated Tūhoe Trust who negotiated the Tūhoe Treaty settlement.
Te Tokawhakāea Tēmara (Rotorua) is Deputy Chairman of Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua and has been the Chairman of the Tūhoe Waikaremoana Māori Trust Board for the past 10 years. He previously served on the East Coast Hawke's Bay Conservation Board.
Dr John Wood (Kaikoura) is the current Chancellor of the University of Canterbury and a former Ambassador to the United States. John was Chief Crown Negotiator for the Whanganui River and Tūhoe Treaty settlement negotiations.
Further information about the Board
- One of the Board's key tasks will be to develop and approve a 10 year management plan setting out objectives and policies for Te Urewera. There will be public consultation on the plan.
- The Board will issue an annual statement of priorities to guide the management of Te Urewera, and will also undertake landowner functions such as granting permissions and concessions to undertake certain activities in Te Urewera.
- The Board must choose a Deputy Chair, who can be any member
- The Board will strive to achieve consensus in its decision-making.
- Te Urewera will be managed by Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua and the Department of Conservation. Operational activities will be coordinated by the parties through an agreed annual operational plan.
- Tūhoe and the Crown will share the costs of servicing the Board.
Tūhoe claims settlement and Te Urewera bills passed - media release 24 July 2104