Dame Tariana Turia, DNZM and Turama Hawira have been appointed to the office of Te Pou Tupua which was established under the Whanganui River Treaty settlement to act as the human face of Te Awa Tupua, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson and the Whanganui iwi announced today.
Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Act 2017 came into force earlier this year. It recognises Te Awa Tupua as a legal person comprising the Whanganui River as an indivisible and living whole from the mountains to the sea, including all of its elements.
Te Pou Tupua is a singular role that will be performed jointly by Dame Tariana and Mr Hawira. Te Pou Tupua will act and speak on behalf of Te Awa Tupua and promote and protect its health and wellbeing.
“These appointments were made jointly by the Crown and iwi with interests in the Whanganui River catchment, reflecting our Treaty partnership,” Mr Finlayson said. “I congratulate Dame Tariana and Mr Hawira on their appointments and thank them for agreeing to take on this important role to advocate for the health and wellbeing of Te Awa Tupua.
“This innovative legal framework recognises the spiritual connection between the iwi and their ancestral river. It also provides a strong foundation for the future of the river which will benefit its communities.”
The Chair of Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui, Gerrard Albert lauded the co-operation amongst the iwi with interests in the Whanganui River. “It was the vision of the late Sir Archie Taiaroa that the settlement of the Whanganui River claim should result in acknowledgment of both the mana of Te Awa Tupua and the mana of all its iwi,” Mr Albert said.
“The role of Te Pou Tupua as the human face of Te Awa Tupua is of great importance to the new framework that has been created for the Whanganui River and Te Pou Tupua will be engaging actively with the iwi, hapū and communities of the Whanganui River, local government and the other groups as part of its work.”
Te Pou Tupua will also be responsible for administering a new $30 million contestable fund, Te Korotete, which will be available to support initiatives relating to the environmental enhancement of Te Awa Tupua.
Dame Tariana and Mr Harawira have been appointed as Te Pou Tupua for a period of three years.
Notes for editors:Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui is the post-settlement governance entity for Whanganui iwi for the purpose of the Whanganui River Treaty Settlement. The iwi with interests in the Whanganui River catchment who have jointly appointed Te Pou Tupua with the Crown are Whanganui, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Rereahu, Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Ruanui and Ngā Rauru Kītahi.
Biography of Dame Tariana Turia DNZM
Dame Tariana Turia was a Member of Parliament from 1996 until 2014. She has been Minister for Whānau Ora, Disability Issues and the Community and Voluntary Sector. She was also the Associate Minister of Health, Māori Affairs, Social Development, Child, Youth and Family, Housing, Corrections, Tertiary Education and Skills and Employment.
Dame Tariana, of Ngāti Apa, Ngā Wairiki, Ngā Rauru, Tuwharetoa and Whanganui is best known for her championing of the Whanau Ora programme and significant tobacco reforms.
After leaving Parliament, Dame Tariana was appointed Chair of the Parihaka Settlement Trust, Pou of Te Pou Matakana, Pou Arahi for the Accident Compensation Corporation, an Assessor for Te Putahitanga o te Waipounamu and an Assessor for Tipu Ora. Dame Tariana has an Honorary Doctorate from the New Zealand College of General Practitioners and sits on the board of Te Kohanga Reo National Trust Board.
Biography of Turama Hawira
Turama Hawira is a highly experienced advisor and educator. He has performed numerous advisory roles with local and central government and private sector organisations, including providing tikanga and cultural advice, and preparing cultural values reports. He has provided advice and presented research on behalf of hapū and iwi claimants of the wider Whanganui-Ruapehu district, including before the Whanganui District Inquiry of the Waitangi Tribunal, WAI 903.
Mr Hawira has been a trustee and director of several hapu and iwi trusts and organisations including chairing the Nga Rauru Iwi post settlement governance entity. He has also been a director of the Morikaunui Incorporation which farms large tracts of Maori owned land in the Whanganui catchment.
Fluent in the Whanganui dialect, Mr Hawira brings vast cultural knowledge and practical experience of the Whanganui River district to the role of Te Pou Tupua.