Introduction

DOC and Tūhoe take a giant step forward in both relationship and on the ground operations, signing a series of staff secondments to Tūhoe-Te Uru Taumatua.

Auspiciously, one year on from powering up both the Tūhoe and Te Urewera Acts, the Department of Conservation and Tūhoe formalise a giant step forward in both relationship and on the ground operations signing a series of staff secondments to Tūhoe-Te Uru Taumatua to undertake the work programme for Te Urewera Board.

Te Uru Taumatua and the Department of Conservation are continuing to develop their operational relationship sharing resources to raise capacity, join up and evolve new technologies and increase the active biodiversity management across all of Te Urewera.

Under Te Urewera Act, every day we are all learning, learning how best to work together and learning to use the best from each other, to succeed in achieving the Te Urewera Board's priorities. DOC is actively working with the Board and Te Uru Taumatua to ensure the transition runs smoothly.

Last month an offer of secondment was outlined to DOC staff working in Te Urewera. The secondment to TUT for 12 months takes effect from Monday 3 August 2015 and gives a span of time to settle in the new norm. Te Urewera Board, Te Uru Taumatua with their Tribal communities and DOC will consider the next steps and work on an agreement during the first 12 month period.

One integrated team operating in Te Urewera was the logical next step.

Chair of Te Urewera Board and Te Uru Taumatua, Tamati Kruger admires the spirit of collaboration that has taken hold within the teams to produce the united Te Urewera Biodiversity team, "our Tuhoe communities have waited a long time for the return of their leadership to their whenua and we are confident that this integration is good for Te Urewera and conservation management generally".

Kirsti Luke, CEO of Te Uru Taumatua, is clear that senior DOC leadership was necessary to transform the ill-fitting and clunky relationship of the past to today's fresh new look at the relationship of people with the land. "I am in no doubt that their foresight is enabling of all of this". Willie Shaw, Onukurangi for TUT and manager for the Tūhoe Tribal Biodiversity Managers says "I am enthusiastic about this new working arrangement before us, and have no doubt about our ability to deliver as a single team," he said.

DOC's Deputy Director-General Conservation Services Mike Slater says this is a new way of working for DOC.

It was important he said to note there will be no changes to the services staff deliver while on secondment; they will simply be reporting to Te Uru Taumatua and working for the Te Urewera Board, instead of their current DOC manager.

"It is important staff working under the Te Uru Taumatua [TUT] structure identify with TUT, Te Urewera and the goals they are working towards, while still focussing on the important conservation work that needs to be done," says Mike Slater.

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