Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Whakatane woman Jade King-Hazel’s adventures in conservation have reached new heights with her becoming DOC's operations manager in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Date:  21 September 2017

The new role will see her lead a team of 22 staff across a district spanning East Cape to Otamarakau and south to Whirinaki – Te Pua a Tane Forest Park covering the Waieoka, Urutawa and Raukumara conservation areas.

Jade King-Hazel.
Jade King-Hazel
Image: Neil Hutton | DOC

Ms King-Hazel was one of the first cadets to join a scheme which had the ambition of training them in the full range of DOC work with a view to having them eventually take up conservation leadership roles in their own iwi.

In this case, that is Ngāti Awa and Jade was nominated to the cadet scheme with the full backing of the iwi.

At the time she started her cadetship in Whakatane in 2008, the district was managed by the very experienced John Sutton.

Now, nine years on, Jade has picked up the mantle after Mr Sutton took on a new role as part of the establishment staff for Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

Announcing Jade’s appointment, Central North Island Operations Director Allan Munn noted that Jade brings to the role nine years of practical experience in conservation work and has made a real success of the opportunities she has had.

“The work of the Department in the Eastern Bay of Plenty is growing as we welcome more visitors and look to manage our forests, wetlands and marine environments on a larger scale,” he says.

“This, coupled with the essential work of implementing Treaty settlements with a number of iwi in the region, will be important focus areas of Jade’s role.

“I have every confidence that she will make a success of the position and congratulate her on her appointment,” Allan says.

For her part, Jade acknowledges her predecessor leaves behind big shoes to follow, “…however, my approach is simple, I’m not looking to be John, I’m just looking to be Jade.”

That means she has a different style, approach and way of thinking.

She believes the opportunities the DOC has presented to her over the past nine years have prepared her for this leadership role and, as examples, points to such things as being a DOC delegate to the World Parks Congress in Australia as well as taking on a one-year secondment in the role of Waikato Services Manager based in Hamilton.

“I know that the key to success in conservation here in the Eastern Bay is through collaboration - working in partnership with our iwi partners, community and other agencies who all want to see this rohe flourish.

“We have a shared commitment as kaitiaki to collectively care for the environment and I will be doing my best to ensure we all work together and do our part to move conservation forward in the best way we can,” Jade says.

When asked about leadership style Ms King-Hazel refers to the leadership model of an older generation close to home demonstrating leadership through actions. Among those, she singles out her grandmother Sharon Tutua along with Te Rūnanga O Ngāti Awa Chairman Joe Mason, Te Tapatoru a Toi Chairman Te Kei Merito and recently-appointed Te Rūnanga O Ngāti Awa CEO Leonie Simpson. She also refers to the senior leadership within DOC including her predecessor John Sutton.

“I have spent my life being raised in Whakatane. Having the ability to give back to the community and the place I call home is important to me. Growing conservation, protecting and preserving for future generations plays a big part in why I wake up every day and head to work,” Jade says.

Outside of her role she focuses her time on her young family along with being a proactive member involved in the community and her iwi serving a range of organisations including Whakatane Blue Light Volunteer, Halo Whakatane, Rurima Island Māori Reservation Trust, Te Rūnanga O Ngāti Awa Taiohi programme and the Otamakaokao Kaitiaki group.


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