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Te Puna,
Māori Advisory Group

Whāngaia te iwi​.

Sustain the tangata.

Te Puna

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.

Head and shoulders photo of Tipa Mahuta (Chair)

Tipa Mahuta (Chair) Waikato, Maniapoto me Ngapuhi

Tipa is a Waikato Regional Councillor, Co-Chair of the Waikato River Authority, and Deputy Chair of Counties Manukau District Health Board. She is Co-Chair of the Māori Health Authority. Tipa brings strong governance experience, and an environmental and health focus to the Māori Advisory Group.

Head and shoulders photo of Ian Ruru

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.

Head and shoulders photo of Bonita Bigham

Bonita Bigham Ngāruahine, Te Ātiawa

Bonita is currently a member of the Taranaki Whanganui Conservation Board, the New Zealand Geographic Board, the Oranga Marae committee, Toi Māori Aotearoa’s Te Ātinga committee, 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.

Head and shoulders photo of Riki Ellison

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 Lawyer, Environmental Commissioner and Professional Director. Loretta is currently a member of a number of Crown entity boards and Advisory Panels, including the Taumata Arowai Board. 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. 

Head and shoulders photo of Pita Paul

Pita Paul Ngāti Manawa, Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Whare

Pita is currently the Managing Director of Waiwhenua Associates Ltd, and Cultural Facilitator for Hauora Tairāwhiti District Health Board. Pita has had a lengthy career in Māori health, including as the Drinking Water Facilitator for Tairāwhiti District Health Board. His deep understanding of mātauranga Māori, and experience working with rural Māori communities and marae, is an asset to Te Puna. 

Head and shoulders photo of Te Huia

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.