Māori Advisory Group
Te Puna (the Māori Advisory Group) was established under the Taumata Arowai–the Water Services Regulator Act 2020 and was appointed by the Acting Minister of Local Government on 20 May 2021. Te Puna is chaired by Tipa Mahuta.
Te Poari o Taumata Arowai (the Board) is responsible for the governance of Taumata Arowai and Te Puna is integral to the success of that governance. The Memorandum of Understanding sets out their expectations and intentions to work as partners. Ministers have appointed two dual members of the Board and Te Puna to act as a bridge between the partners.
Te Puna advises on Māori interests and knowledge as they relate to the objectives, functions and operating principles of Taumata Arowai and the Board’s collective duties. This includes:
- developing and maintaining a framework that provides advice and guidance for Taumata Arowai on how to interpret and give effect to Te Mana o te Wai
- providing advice on how to enable mātauranga Māori , tikanga Māori, and kaitiakitanga to be exercised
- any other matters as agreed by Te Puna and the Board.
The approved Terms of Reference of Te Puna are included below.
Tipa Mahuta (Chair) Waikato, Maniapoto me Ngapuhi
Tipa is a Waikato Regional Councillor and Co-Chair of the Waikato River Authority. She is Chair of the Māori Health Authority. Tipa brings strong governance experience, and an environmental and health focus to the Māori Advisory Group.
Ian Ruru (Deputy Chair) Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tai and Whakatōhea
Ian has a scientific background in marine and freshwater fisheries and is a director on a number of iwi fishing companies. Ian is a Kāhui Māori member of Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge and an alternate Director of Te Wai Māori Trust. He recently led a project between iwi and Gisborne District Council to develop a culturally appropriate way to dispose of mortuary waste. Ian brings his expertise as a practitioner of applying tikanga-based approaches to natural resource management to Te Puna.
Bonita Bigham Ngāruahine, Te Ātiawa
Bonita is currently a member of the Taranaki Coastal Community Board, the New Zealand Geographic Board, the Oranga Marae committee, Te Ātinga committee of Toi Māori Aotearoa, is chairperson of Te Maruata, the national Māori collective within the local government sector and sits on Local Government New Zealand’s National Council. She is in her fourth term as an elected member, including three as a South Taranaki District Councillor. Bonita is also an iwi representative on a Taranaki Regional Council committee and brings her strong local government experience to the Māori Advisory Group. She has also been actively involved in whānau, marae, hapū and iwi kaupapa all her life.
Riki Ellison Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāi Tahu, Te Ātiawa
Riki is a consultant specialising in environmental management and iwi Māori development, working with central government agencies, local government, iwi and hapū. Riki is also a member of the Board.
As an adviser to the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group and a member of the Ministerial advisory group Kāhui Wai Māori, he has an in-depth knowledge of Te Mana o te Wai in a policy context.
Loretta Lovell Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Pāhauwera, Ngāti Kahungunu and Whakatōhea
Loretta is a Solicitor, Independent Environmental Commissioner and Professional Director.
For over 20 years Loretta has specialised in public, commercial, energy and resource management law, advising clients as they develop their resources and negotiate and progress large scale infrastructure projects. As an environmental commissioner and chairperson, she has considered and decided many complex plan and consent applications often involving large scale infrastructure for telecommunications, electricity grid, lines and generation, and drinking, storm and wastewater.
Loretta is also an Associate Commissioner of the Commerce Commission which is the economic regulator for water for New Zealand, providing a common conduit between the economic and quality regulators at governance level. She is also a Board member of The Charities Registration Board and until recently served on the board of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority and the Environmental Legal Assistance Advisory Panel.
Loretta has previously been a legal advisor for several Treaty settlements and iwi organisations, and brings legal, environmental and Te Tiriti experience to Te Puna.
Te Huia Taylor Ngāti Te Ata Waiohua, Te Waiariki
Te Huia is a product of the Kura Kaupapa Māori Movement and was raised by her iwi of Ngāti Te Ata Waiohua. The passion she has for te reo Māori is reflected in being a licensed translator and in her current pursuit of a Masters in Te Reo Kairangi (Language Excellence). She is the Director of Paakaurua Consultants Limited whose focus is to imbed Kaitiakitanga principles in kaupapa that affect the taiao. Paakaurua led the Māori Engagement Plan for Auckland's Climate Plan - Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri and the delivery of the Rangatahi section within that same plan. Their current project role is leading the Manawhenua programme for Te Whakaoranga o Te Puhinui, a catchment wide awa restoration project which has a key focus on honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Te Huia is a board member of Te Ara Rangatahi, is the Ngāti Te Ata Representative on a Waka Kotahi Steering Group and was recently appointed to the Te Paenga Hira - Toitū te Taiao Exhibition Māori Advisory Board. Te Huia’s experience in effective engagement with Māori communities and her in-depth understanding of whānau, hapū and iwi dynamics is an asset to Te Puna.
Stephanie Dijkstra Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe
Stephanie is of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Mamoe descent and specialises in intergenerational environmental outcomes and the interweaving of mātauranga and western science. She has qualifications in Biochemistry and Plant Cell Biology.
Stephanie has extensive experience in the governance sector and is the Chair of the Ngāi Tahu HSNO Kōmiti and a member of the pan Māori Te Herenga rōpū of the Environment Protection Authority. She is also a member of the Water NZ Te Mana o te Wai subgroup and Stormwater Committee.