Toitū te marae a Tāne, Toitū te marae a Tangaroa, Toitū te tangata. If the land is well and the sea is well, the people will thrive.

31 May 2021

Te Tumu Whakarae mō Te Papa Atawhai
Director-General Conservation and Chief Executive
Department of Conservation Aotearoa New Zealand

In Māori culture and history, Papatūānuku is profoundly important. She is the land and the earth mother who imparts many blessings to her children. She is seen as the birthplace of all things and the place to which they return.

Having grown up in a bi-cultural family in Aotearoa New Zealand, I understand the importance of the relationship between people and all living things. Māori feel a strong obligation to act as kaitiaki (guardian, custodian) and this guardianship is not limited to animate objects but extends to waterways and mountains by virtue of their connectedness to Papatūānuku.

So this week, I was very excited when HardyGroup were invited by Te Kawa Mataaho, New Zealand’s Public Service Commission, to recruit to the role of Director General Conservation and Chief Executive, Te Papa Atawhai, The Department of Conservation. Te Papa Atawhai is the government agency responsible for conserving the natural and historic heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. An agency whose purpose is to ensure that Papatūānuku thrives.

Te Papa Atawhai fulfils this role through a range of work including stewardship of about 8.6 million hectares of land, 44 marine reserves (covering 1.77 million hectares), and 8 marine mammal sanctuaries (covering approximately 2.8 million hectares). The Department’s workforce is approximately 2,400 staff at 100 locations across Aotearoa New Zealand with an annual appropriation of roughly $600 million.

The Conservation Act 1987 is the foundation legislation for Te Papa Atawhai’s mahi.

The Director-General has an important role to lead the conservation system including the protection, restoration, and sustainable use of biodiversity in Aotearoa, to achieve the conservation outcomes of Te ora o Papatūānuku | Healthy nature, Te ora o te Hapori | Thriving communities, and Te hunga Atawhai | People who care.

Te Papa Atawahi has a pivotal leadership role in ensuring that the vision for biodiversity is realised and that the agreed strategic direction is implemented at national, regional and local levels.

Conservation priorities must also be set in the context of the economic and social wellbeing objectives for New Zealanders and their communities. For example, Te Papa Atawhai makes decisions about the commercial use of public lands and waters and contributes to the revitalisation of the tourism sector and to economic activity through the creation of conservation jobs.

Te Papa Atawhai also works alongside whānau, hapū, Iwi and Māori organisations, environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs), central and local government, businesses, organisations, industry and individuals to achieve better outcomes. Te Papa Atawhai has responsibilities to Māori as the Crown’s Treaty partner in fulfilling their role as rangatira and kaitiaki.

It is important that this legislation and the Departments operating structure and system is managed to be current, relevant and fit for the future.

In my view, this is an incredibly important role not just for the future of all New Zealanders but in giving respect to Māori culture and history.

If you are interested in the role or want further information about the candidate profile we are seeking please following this link