Minister for Māori Development, Willie Jackson, has announced the appointment of Crown representatives, Dr Charlotte Severne and Mr Bernie O’Donnell, to the Steering Committee that will determine the future of the Ihumātao land.
“I’m pleased to have made the Crown appointments. Both Dr Severne and Mr O’Donnell have extensive experience and will be integral in supporting a collective approach to Ihumātao,” Minister Jackson said.
In December 2020, the Crown, Kīngitanga and Auckland Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding, He Pūmautanga, on how they will work together.
He Pūmautanga sets out a process for establishing a Steering Committee, the Rōpu Whakahaere, to decide the future use of the land, and the development of a management plan for the whenua.
The Rōpu Whakahaere is made up of six members; one representative appointed by Kīngitanga, three representatives of Ahi Kā groups appointed through tikanga processes facilitated by Kīngitanga, and two Crown representatives.
Minister Jackson met with members of the Rōpū Whakahaere recently and expects the group will meet again soon.
“The role of this group is significant in determining the future use and ownership options of Ihumātao. We anticipate this mahi will be completed in five years,” he said.
“I acknowledge it has been complex determining who the Ahi Kā representatives of the Rōpū Whakahaere are, which was also delayed by COVID. I would like to commend Kīngitanga on their work in facilitating this process.”
Mr O’Donnell has been appointed for four years. He is a former cultural advisor and a current professional director involved in a wide range of Māori community and public roles.
Dr Severne has been appointed for two years and is currently the Māori Trustee. She is highly experienced in the governance of Māori entities and land-based ventures.
“I am confident both Dr Severne and Mr O’Donnell will provide strong contributions to the success of the Rōpu Whakahaere in resolving the use and stewardship of Ihumātao land. I look forward to further progress,” Mr Jackson said.
Auckland Council will provide an observer to attend meetings and work with the Rōpu Whakahaere to achieve the vision and objectives of He Pūmautanga.