Department of Conservation/Te Papa Atawhai (DOC) staff and invited guests from across Tai Tokerau joined yesterday to welcome the new Pou Tairangahau and Whangarei Operations Manager at the Hihiaua Cultural Centre in Whangārei.
DOC Northern North Island Operations Director, Sue Reed-Thomas announced the appointments of Francis Toko into the role of Pou Tairangahau for Northern North Island and Craig Deal, Operations Manager for the Whangārei District.
Francis Toko (Te Uri o Hau/Te Roroa) steps in to take on the challenging role of Pou Tairangahau for Northern North Island. Francis has spent the last three years working as the Iwi Relationships Manager for Kaipara District Council.
The role was established to lead a Tai Tokerau wide approach to growing conservation with DOC Treaty Partners. It focuses on supporting the Director of Operations to develop strong productive relationships with Whānau/Hāpu/Iwi, also providing regional leadership on the implementation of treaty settlements across Tai Tokerau. In addition, the Pou Tairangahau will be responsible for leading a regional programme of capability-building around effectively working with tangata whenua and fulfilling the department’s responsibilities under Te Tiriti o Waitangi and enabling the proper integration of Kaupapa Māori essential to enhance the role of Kaitiakitanga for mutual conservation outcomes.
Mr Toko has worked across many different sectors including youth services, education, central and local government and engaged with a wide variety of community groups.
“As a Māori, son, father, uncle and friend it is my privilege and honour to be appointed to this role with the support of my whānau, hapū and iwi,” said Mr Toko.
Craig Deal was born in Murupara, raised in Tauranga and moved to One Tree Point as a teenager, where he spent high school at Bream Bay College. He holds a Bachelor of Science majoring in Ecology and Zoology. Craig joins the Whangārei office after serving 10 years with the New Zealand Army and active operational deployments overseas.
“New to the role as Operations Manager I hope to contribute to the preservation of the unique and diverse natural landscapes and biodiversity in Whangārei. Conservation is all about people, and I look forward to developing strong relationships that will enable positive outcomes for conservation across Tai Tokerau,” said Mr Deal.
Ms Reed-Thomas also acknowledged the hard work, commitment, and dedication shown by Aaron Taikato, who has held the position of Pou Tairangahau for the last 10 years. Aaron has now taken on a National Director role, Strategy Māori for Te Papa Atawhai and will soon be leading Ngā Whenua Rahul as Kaihautu/Director.
“‘Mate atu he tētē kura, ara mai he tētē kura’ this whakataukī represents birth, regrowth and regeneration and symbolises sustainability, the passing of knowledge and resources from one generation to the next,” said Mr Taikato, who hands the Pou Tairangahau role to Mr Toko as his last duty for Northern North Island.