Māori-led conference planned for the Bay

Wednesday 7 March 2012, 4:14PM
By Bay of Plenty Regional Council


A one-day conference to promote and enhance ways to build Māori capacity and capability to contribute to Council decision-making will go ahead in Tauranga next month, after being postponed late last year.

The event, called Te Tōanga Mai o Te Ra, or ‘the rising of the sun’, is hosted by Bay of Plenty Regional Council and will be held on Monday, 23 April at TECT Arena in Tauranga. Organiser, Regional Council Māori Policy Manager Kataraina Belshaw, said the conference is about bringing Māori together to hear some of New Zealand’s top academics talk about environmental issues and local government.

The event was postponed in late October last year because Regional Council Māori Policy staff and many local iwi were involved in the response to the MV Rena grounding.

The conference will target Māori who live in, or have an interest in the Bay of Plenty region, including hapū and iwi practitioners as well as representatives and members of Māori land trusts and entities. The Ministry of Māori Development, Te Puni Kōkiri and Eight Associates are sponsoring the event.

Ms Belshaw said the conference was an opportunity to build relationships and learn from each other.

“This event will provide an occasion where experts and practitioners can share knowledge, skills and experiences on topics of relevance that will help Māori build capability and capacity to contribute to Council decision-making. It’s an opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and build new ones,” she said.

Topics to be discussed at the conference include the use of Māori land, constitutional reform and local government, Māori perspectives on water, natural resource co-governance models and human rights.

Keynote speaker is Justice Joe Williams and guest speakers include Human Rights Commissioner Joris de Bres, Auckland University Māori Studies Professor Ann Sullivan, Professor Linda Te Aho and senior law lecturer Jacinta Ruru. The conference will also feature presentations from Environment Canterbury Chief Executive Bill Bayfield, Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chief Executive Mary-Anne MacLeod and Chairman of Ngāi Te Rangi Iwi Trust Charlie Tawhiao on the importance of relationships in a disaster.

The conference was requested through the Regional Council’s Māori Committee last year. Under the Local Government Act Councils must consider ways to foster the development of Māori capacity to contribute to Council decision-making.

Iwi and hapū members wishing to attend the conference should email Jacqui Ranui on