The Institute of Public Administration New Zealand (IPANZ) has recognised Tūhoe and its development of working partnerships with the Crown and Government departments.
The iwi has received the Prime Ministers Award and the award for Crown Māori Relationships in the IPANZ 2017 Excellence Awards for the partnership developed between Te Uru Taumatua and the Department of Conservation regarding Te Urewera.
Working collaboratively, the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Tūhoe implemented new Treaty settlement legislation which granted Te Urewera legal personhood.
This has been hailed as a ground-breaking achievement which resulted in the former 2,000 square kilometre park granted the same rights and powers as a citizen, setting a new precedent for land rights and conservation.
In the development of the agreement there was resistance from both sides, however, leadership from Tūhoe and DOC pushed forward to work collaboratively in developing a management plan for Te Urewera.
According to IPANZ, both parties recognised each had something to learn from one another which has resulted in more efficient sharing of ideas, knowledge, perspective and skills.
The draft principles of management for Te Urewera, ‘Te Kawa’ were released in May this year and at the time Te Urewera Board Chairman Tamati Kruger said, "This work brings back Māori process and views of a collective vision about what is the benefit to all people, families and the wider community rather than the individual."
The submission deadline for Te Kawa ends on July 20. A joint decision whether to recommend the plan to the Te Urewera Board will be made by the Minister and Tuhoe's governing board Te Uru Taumata.