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Award for Te Urewera agreement reached between Tuhoe and DoC
6 July 2017
A “ground-breaking” move granting Te Urewera National Park the rights of a person has resulted in a major award for those involved in an initiative described as a “world-first”.
The Te Urewera-Department of Conservation Tuhoe Partnership was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award at the Deloitte IPANZ Public Sector Excellence Awards in Wellington last night.
The judges said that this programme was, “an excellent initiative, demonstrating a transformation in the relationship. Most notably there were no direct examples to draw on anywhere in the world — that is true innovation.”
Working collaboratively, the Department of Conservation (DoC) and Tuhoe implemented ground-breaking new Treaty settlement legislation, which granted Te Urewera legal personhood.
The former national park, comprising over 2000 square kilometres of native forest, has the same rights and powers as a citizen, a first for New Zealand.
This has led to more Tuhoe employed in Te Urewera, more visitors to Te Urewera, and innovative DoC practices, including secondments with Te Uru Taumatua.
The programme also won the Crown-Maori Excellence Award, by demonstrating how Crown and Maori can work together in the spirit of true partnership.
“The annual Public Sector Excellence Awards recognise and reward outstanding performances and achievements in the New Zealand public sector”, IPANZ President John Larkindale said,
“This year the awards attracted a good number of entries from a large range of organisations. The winning and nominated projects show that public sector innovation is making a real difference to the lives of New Zealanders.”
Deloitte chief executive Thomas Pippos congratulated winners and finalists.
“New Zealand is a great place to live, and the public sector is an important contributor to our collective success. It’s also a key partner in efforts to address the challenges that threaten our Kiwi way of life. The individuals, teams and initiatives recognised by this year’s awards represent the very best of this vital work.”

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