Conference seeks Maori participation

A one-day conference to enhance Maori involvement with local government will go ahead in Tauranga next month, after being postponed late last year.

The event, called Te Toanga Mai o Te Ra, or "the rising of the sun", is hosted by Bay of Plenty Regional Council and will be held on Monday, April 23 at TECT Arena in Tauranga.

Organiser, regional council Maori policy manager Kataraina Belshaw, said the conference would bring Maori together to hear some of New Zealand's top academics talk about environmental issues and local government. The event was postponed in late October last year because regional council Maori policy staff and many local iwi were involved in the response to the MV Rena grounding.

The conference will target Maori who live in, or have an interest in the Bay of Plenty region, including hapu and iwi practitioners as well as representatives and members of Maori land trusts and entities. The Ministry of Maori Development, Te Puni Kokiri and eight associates are sponsoring the event.

Topics to be discussed at the conference include the use of Maori land, constitutional reform and local government, Maori perspectives on water, natural resource co-governance models and human rights.

Keynote speaker is Justice Joe Williams and guest speakers include Human Rights Commissioner Joris de Bres, Auckland University Maori studies Professor Ann Sullivan, Professor Linda Te Aho and senior law lecturer Jacinta Ruru.

Iwi and hapu members wishing to attend should email Jacqui Ranui on

- Bay of Plenty Times

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