Today marks the 175 years since te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi), New Zealand’s founding document, was signed. This milestone is an opportunity to reflect on the Treaty and what it means for conservation.
The natural environment is important to all New Zealanders. It’s a part of who we are and underpins our lives. There is a responsibility to protect our taonga/treasures for future generations.
DOC works with iwi and hapu in almost all aspects of our work from creating marine reserves and managing National Parks to hosting freshwater field skills wānanga or coastal iwi-wide Mataatua Whale wānanga. It’s a relationship that’s set out in section 4 of the Conservation Act 1987.
Working in partnership with others to grow conservation is at the heart of everything we do. The partnerships with iwi and hapū enable us to achieve greater conservation outcomes while ensuring tangata whenua exercise their relationship with their natural and historical heritage.
DOC also plays a key role in the negotiation of Treaty of Waitangi settlements. Conservation redress is an integral part of each Treaty Settlement. This recognises the traditional, historical, cultural and spiritual association iwi have with places and sites. Treaty settlements set out how iwi and DOC will work together to protect and enhance the conservation values of those sites – so our taonga is protected for generations to come.
The following whakataukī is being used for the Waitangi 175 commemorations:
Ko te reoreo a kea ki uta, ko te whakataki mai a toroa ki tai, he kotuku ki te raki, he kakapo ki te whenua
“The voice of the kea is heard inland, the cry of the albatross is heard at sea, a kotuku in the sky, a kakapo on the ground”
Meaning: Everything has its rightful place.