Crown Maori Relationships

Te Urewera – DOC Tūhoe Partnership, Department of Conservation and Te Uru Taumatua

Working collaboratively, the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Tuhoe implemented ground-breaking new Treaty settlement legislation, which granted Te Urewera legal personhood.The former park, comprising over 2,000 square kilometres of native forest, has the same rights and powers as a citizen.This was a first for New Zealand and could set a new precedent for land rights and conservation around the world.

Recognising the need to change their approach, the leadership of both DOC and Tuhoe committed to working together, despite resistance on each side.Both parties looked critically at how they engaged with one another, took deliberate steps to improve their working relationship, and to build stronger trust and confidence.Recognition that both sides have something to learn from one another has resulted in a much more efficient sharing of ideas, knowledge, perspective and skills.

Tangible successes have been seen in Tuhoe infrastructure development, growing leadership and innovative DOC practices.

The commitment both organisations have shown to better understanding one another, and building relationships at multiple levels, demonstrates how Crown and Maori can work together to deliver improved outcomes.