Te Atihaunui a Papārangi, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Tuhourangi, Ngāti Manawa, Kāti Māhaki o Makawhio

Hera is a Māori environmental consultant and project manager and is associate member of the New Zealand Planning Institute. She primarily works in the areas of research and development, environmental policy and planning, freshwater fisheries, strategic partnerships and Treaty settlement implementation. Hera has significant experience working across local, regional and government  in collaborative partnerships and relationship frameworks, and her love and passion for working alongside people of diverse backgrounds stems from applying the “intent and purpose, not just the written word”.


Hera is currently Deputy Chair of Te Kōpuka nā Te Awa Tupua) a collaborative strategy group established under Ruruku Whakatupua (the Whanganui River Settlement), which is one of the central elements of Te Pā Auroa nā te Awa Tupua (the new legal framework centred on Te Awa Tupua). The purpose of Te Kōpuka is to collaboratively advance the health and wellbeing of Te Awa Tupua. The name Kōpuka (the white mānuka used to build pā auroa) symbolises the connection, co-operation amongst the hapū and iwi and other communities of Te Awa Tupua to maintain and uphold Te Pā Auroa. The primary function of Te Kōpuka is to develop and approve Te Heke Ngahuru ki Te Awa Tupua, a long term strategy for the future environmental, social, cultural and economic health and wellbeing of Te Awa Tupua. 


Hera was the Interim Settlement Manager for Ngā Tangata Tiaki o Whanganui, the post settlement governance body for Whanganui Iwi for the purpose of the Whanganui River Settlement. Prior to that she was the Pou Tairangahau (Strategic Iwi Relationships Manager) for the Department of Conservation in the Bay of Plenty and spent eight years as the Executive Officer for the Te Arawa Lakes Trust immediately following the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement. Her experience also includes a range of advisory groups at both regional and national levels, including the National Science Challenge (Clean Water Technology) and development of the Ministry for the Environment’s Guidance Tools for Cultural Monitoring to support tangata whenua values in freshwater management.


Hera is also currently involved in Te Kinakitanga o Ngati Tuera rāua ko Ngati Hinero, a hapū led initiative to support the health and wellbeing of the Whanganui River, by improving water quality in the catchment, protecting and restoring habitat, and ensuring biodiversity and ecosystems are sustainable for current and future generations.



Legal Personality and Natural Resources - Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River) and Te Urewera (Tūhoe)

Presenting with Paul Beverley

Having been forced to prove association with the rivers, lands and maunga through narrow, compartmentalised and foreign philosophical and legal constructs for over a century, the Te Aō Māori relationship with nature has now been acknowledged and recognised in law.  This is through first principles based on innate values that stem from kawa (philosophical, cultural and spiritual worldviews).

There has been significant progress made between Iwi/Māori and the Crown in negotiating and establishing novel models for recognising, governing and managing natural resources. 
This has included a far stronger focus on Te Aō Māori – the Māori worldview and values as they relate to natural resources, and partnership based models such as through co-governance entities.
One particular innovation has been the adoption of a ‘legal personality’ approach to natural resources.
This session will cover: 

  • An overview of the novel natural resources models adopted through Treaty settlements in Aotearoa

  • An overview of the legal personality models and elements for Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River) and Te Urewera (Tūhoe)

  • An explanation of the implementation process for those models 

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