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Council And Ngāti Tūrangitukua Win National Award For Excellence In Māori Partnership

Taupō District Council and Ngāti Tūrangitukua have won this year’s Te Tohu Waka Hourua - The Buddle Findlay Award for Māori-Council Partnerships for their ground-breaking Mana Whakahono agreement.

The award was presented yesterday afternoon by Taituarā — Local Government Professionals Aotearoa, which is the national membership organisation for local government professionals.

Ngāti Tūrangitukua holds mana whenua over Tūrangi township and its surrounds, and together with the council has spent several years carefully discussing and negotiating a Mana Whakahono partnership agreement, which will be signed next month. The comprehensive agreement covers Resource Management Act, Local Government Act and Reserve Act matters and will be implemented by a co-governance committee equally made up of Ngāti Tūrangitukua and council appointees.

The award recognises programmes, projects or initiatives that demonstrate outstanding results from working in partnership with Māori. Entries may come from any area of local government activity but must be able to demonstrate a commitment to such partnership.

In the decision, the judges said the entry was a stand-out in this category with its focus on culture and behaviour change.

“This genuine desire to empower mana whenua in joint decision-making across the council made this the most transformative entry in this category. We look forward to hearing more of the progress Ngāti Tūrangitukua and Taupō District Council are able to jointly make for their community."

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Council chief executive Gareth Green said it was an absolute honour that the council was recognised through the award.

“This award was a great recognition of the hard work that went into developing the Mana Whakahono agreement. It’s been three years of really hard mahi. We acknowledge our partners Ngāti Tūrangitukua who took the step to initiate the Mana Whakahono-a-Rohe process and who have been there with us every step of the way,” Mr Green said.

“It’s a new dawn for Tūrangi from a governance perspective and will enable the development of Tūrangi in a more inclusive way – it’s a wonderful example of what co-governance can be, and we hope it will be a model that other councils can follow.”

Tina Porou, who accepted the award on behalf of Ngāti Turangitukua, noted the long-term effects the government’s confiscation of most of the hapū’s land in the 1950s for a hydroelectric project had had on her people.

“Fortunately, Mana Whakahono has given us another opportunity to open a stronger relationship with the Taupō District Council in a way we have not seen in this country to date. This is not about a treaty settlement, this is about doing the right thing, and I want to really acknowledge the council as our Te Tiriti partners.”

Head to taupo.govt.nz/manawhakahono to learn more about the agreement. Information about the award can be found at the Taituarā website.

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