Working within a collaborative co-governance model

PRESENTED BY: Yvette Couch-Lewis

Co-Governance is a concept that is becoming more and more common in resource management and planning circles. For many, it is a new concept, but for mana whenua it is something that has been promised since 1840. In the last few years, co-governance arrangements have begun to become the norm as our countries ideas around what a Treaty-based relationship should look like have matured.

Yvette Couch-Lewis MNZM (Ngāi Tahu – Ngāti Wheke, Ngāti Waewae) has had decades of experience working in environmental management for both Crown organisation, on behalf of her hapū of Ngāti Wheke, and on behalf of her iwi Ngāi Tahu, including receiving the New Zealand Order of Merit for service to conservation and Māori through her long-standing contributions to various projects at a governance level. During this time, she has had a range of experiences with different mana whenua engagement structures, from sitting in technical advisory roles, to mana whenua representative roles, through to co-governance arrangements.
In this presentation, Yvette will discuss her experiences of working in a range of Partnership and Co-Governance structures, including the Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour Lyttleton Catchment Management Plan governance team, her recent experience as and Environment Canterbury Tumu Taiao (mana whenua advisor) during their process to gain mana whenua seats on Council, and as a previous co-chair of species recovery groups. She will share her perspectives on how co-governance differs from other forms of mana whenua engagement, and the benefits these structures can deliver for the whole community.