Appendix 5: About Ngā Poutiriao o Mauao

Principles for effectively co-governing natural resources.

Type of arrangement

Ngā Poutiriao o Mauao is a joint administration board set up under a memorandum of understanding between Tauranga City Council and the Mauao Trust.


Mauao, or Mount Maunganui, is a dormant volcanic cone at the end of a peninsula by the town of Mount Maunganui. It is at the entrance of the Tauranga Harbour. It is considered important and tapu by the local iwi, featuring extensively in local mythology. The summit is 232 metres above sea level.

Mauao is a historic reserve that represents the physical remains of about 800 years of human occupation. It is home to many pā sites, natural springs, nesting birds, native coastal forest, and a flock of sheep that graze on the cleared pasture areas.

Tangaroa, god of the sea, is the three-metre statue on the western side of Mauao. This rock reminds those venturing out to sea that they are entering his domain. There is also a large rock named Te Kuia. This rock personifies a great elderly woman who lived on Mauao. A local custom of boats and kayakers is to offer a koha to Te Kuia, in return for their safety while at sea.

Mauao contains many walking tracks to and around the summit.


Mauao Historic Reserve was vested in fee simple in the Crown, and was subject to the Reserves Act 1977. In July 2004, to help its objective of building healthy relationships with Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Pūkenga, and Waitaha, the Crown agreed (in principle) to transfer the fee simple estate in the reserve to the three Tauranga iwi, subject to certain conditions. The transfer was not to be in consideration for the settlement of any Treaty of Waitangi claim against the Crown.

In July 2007, the Mauao Trust was created to represent Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, and Ngāti Pukenga. The Mauao Historic Reserve Vesting Act 2008 then vested ownership of the reserve in the Mauao Trust. The Act also recognised that Waitaha has ancestral association to the land.

Although the ownership of Mauao was transferred to the tāngata whenua, responsibility for decisions on the control, funding, and management of the mountain stayed with Tauranga City Council. The Council has administering body status under the Reserves Act 1977.

At a hui in March 2012, the Mauao Trust, supported by the Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective, presented its aspirations to Tauranga City Council for a joint administering body relationship between the Trust and the Council. The Council unanimously supported the proposal and a working party was set up to work through the details about how a relationship could be set up and how it might work. The working party worked for about a year on the details and process. The result was a memorandum of understanding that was agreed to by the Trust in May 2013, and confirmed by the Council in June 2013, to share management responsibility for the reserve.

It is intended that the joint administration board will be given legal effect through Treaty settlement legislation.


The purpose of the joint board is to give effect to the purpose of the Mauao Trust to protect and preserve the mauri of Mauao to ensure that the natural, physical, and cultural integrity of Mauao is maintained.

In achieving the purpose, the joint board shall, in managing and administering Mauao:

  • act in keeping with the guidance from the Mauao Trust on matters relating to the mauri and tikanga of Mauao;
  • act consistently with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and its statutory obligations under the Reserves Act;
  • co-operate in partnership with a spirit of good faith, integrity, honesty, transparency, and accountability;
  • work together using shared knowledge and expertise;
  • engage early on matters of known interest to either of the parties;
  • enable and support the use of te reo and tikanga Māori;
  • acknowledge that the parties' relationship is evolving; and
  • have particular regard for the interests of the Tauranga community.

As the chairperson of the joint board explained:

The law says we must protect the mountain while maintaining access to the public. The core value is the protection of the maunga. But more important is protection of the mauri. This encompasses everything about the mountain. For the maunga itself, there's the natural flora and fauna − we want to maintain it and with regard to the flora, increase it by planting native plants – iwi would say this is like laying the cloak over the mountain by planting more trees, which would also attract more native birds. It's nature and it's natural. It's about how people interact with that environment. But also the mauri – it's the lifestyle.

Appointment and composition of membership

The joint board has eight members. The Mauao Trust (including Waitaha) and Tauranga City Council each appoint four members. The board is chaired by a representative appointed by the Mauao Trust. The deputy chairperson is one of the councillors. "We have a 50:50 shared responsibility".

Accountability and transparency

The joint board is expected to provide regular reports to the Mauao Trust on the management and administration of Mauao. In practice, the iwi members report to the Trust, while the councillors report to the wider Council.

The joint board is also expected to provide an annual monitoring report to the Council at the end of each financial year to identify how any funding has been allocated. The joint board is supposed to use this opportunity to identify potential priorities for funding in the following financial year.

The joint board does not have to make meeting minutes and agendas public. It does not have to be accountable to the public. However, the board is aware that it needs to keep the public informed. At the time of the signing of the memorandum of understanding, the Mauao Trust and the Council released a joint media release.

We didn't want the view of public towards the Mauao trust being about the Māori taking over everything and charging the public.


A potential measure of success is the community recognising the historical and cultural value of Mauao for iwi.

Some have spoken about Mauao being the southern beacon for the Pacific. That's always strong in the minds of tāngata whenua. Sometimes, just acknowledging it is just about flagging it for the future.

Another measure of success is the community wanting to protect Mauao.

Impressive that when walking around the mountain people don't seem to litter around the mountain – they're carrying [litter] out with them − this includes overseas visitors.