Introducing our Tumu Taiao – Mana Whenua Experts on Council

Anei kau ana te reo maioha o Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu me te Kaunihera Taiao ki Waitaha i ruka i te ekeka mai o Iaean Cranwell rāua ko Yvette Couch-Lewis hai Tumu Taiao – Mana Whenua Experts – ki te pae Kaunihera Taiao ki Waitaha.

Environment Canterbury and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu are proud to advise the appointment of Iaean Cranwell and Yvette Couch-Lewis as our new Tumu Taiao – Mana Whenua Experts – to the Canterbury Regional Council (Environment Canterbury).

The successful candidates - Iaean Cranwell and
Yvette Couch-Lewis

I tohua mai a Iaean Cranwell rāua ko Yvette Couch-Lewis e kā Hēmana o Kā Papatipu Rūnaka, nāna nei te tukaka whiriwhiri i whakatau. Ka tīmata a Iaean Cranwell rāua ko Yvette Couch-Lewis i roto i ō rāua tūraka hai te Whiringa-ā-nuku.

Iaean and Yvette were appointed by the ten Papatipu Rūnanga Chairs of the Canterbury region, following a robust selection process. It was important that Papatipu Rūnanga hold the mana (authority) to decide who would fill the positions that will represent them.

Iaean Cranwell was previously an appointed Councillor for Environment Canterbury, representing Ngāi Tahu from 2016-2019, and has extensive governance experience particularly in Māori and commercial areas.

Yvette Couch-Lewis has a wealth of experience in the natural resources area and has been a Resource Management Act Hearings Commissioner.

They bring both unique and complementary skills to the roles.

photo of Iaean Cranwell

Tumu Taiao Cranwell 

photo of Yvette Couch-Lewis

Tumu Taiao Couch-Lewis  

Roles unique to local government in New Zealand

Environment Canterbury Deputy Chair, Peter Scott says, “Our Tumu Taiao roles are unique to local government in New Zealand. We worked closely with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to develop this new way of enabling mana whenua views and values to be incorporated with our decision-making.

"We are extremely proud of this achievement, and we look forward to having the advice, wisdom, and knowledge of the Tumu Taiao around our Council table.”

Liz Brown, Te Taumutu Rūnanga Chair, also sees this as a positive development, “It is disappointing that a Local Bill which sought to continue mana whenua representation on Council did not proceed. However, we are pragmatic and supportive of this as an approach to enable us to still contribute in a proactive and constructive way to Council decision-making.”

More about our Tumu Taiao - Mana Whenua Experts on Council

  • The purpose of the Tumu Taiao roles is to provide advice to Council in the interests of mana whenua. The Local Government Act 2002 does not allow the Tumu Taiao to have Councillor decision-making powers to vote at Council meetings, but they will support the opportunity for better decision-making outcomes for mana whenua and for Environment Canterbury.
  • The appointment of the Tumu Taiao reflects the trust that Papatipu Rūnanga have in the Council to make the right decisions, in lieu of them being able to vote themselves.
  • Previously, under The Environment Canterbury (Transitional Governance Arrangements) Act 2016, Environment Canterbury had the privilege of mana whenua representation on Council through two appointed Councillors. The Act expired in October 2019.
  • In anticipation of the expiry of The Act, Environment Canterbury and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu put forward a Local Bill which sought to continue mana whenua representation on Council due to the enormous value it provided. Unfortunately, the Local Bill did not proceed through Parliament at that time (April 2019).
  • Since then, Environment Canterbury and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu have worked together to establish this new governance arrangement. Appointing the Tumu Taiao – Mana Whenua Experts on Council – is the best recognition Environment Canterbury can give to the Treaty of Waitangi and mana whenua within the current constraints of the Local Government Act.

Frequently asked questions

Tumu Taiao - Mana Whenua Experts on Council
1. What does Tumu Taiao translate to?
  • The name ‘Tumu Taiao’ has been chosen as Tumu is a term of address that reflects respect for mana and seniority.
  • Tumu also means the trunk of the tree, which is the strongest part of the tree and from which the branches grow, recognising not only the importance of this role to Environment Canterbury and to Ngāi Tahu, but also the way that the role spreads throughout and across both organisations. Taiao means world, environment and nature.

2. What is the purpose of the Tumu Taiao?

  • The purpose of the Tumu Taiao role is twofold: firstly to carry through the values, aims and priorities of mana whenua to Council processes, and secondly to provide governance-level mana whenua advice across the breadth of Council business and support better decision-making outcomes by Council.
  • Tumu Taiao are eligible to participate and vote in all governance business except for Council meetings which would not be permitted under the Local Government Act 2002. 

3. Who are the Tumu Taiao?

  • Iaean Cranwell and Yvette Couch-Lewis were appointed by the ten Papatipu Rūnanga Chairs of the Canterbury region as our Tumu Taiao – Mana Whenua Experts on Council.
  • Iaean Cranwell was previously an appointed Councillor for Environment Canterbury, representing Ngāi Tahu from 2016-2019, and has extensive governance experience particularly in Māori and commercial areas.
  • Yvette Couch-Lewis has a wealth of experience in the natural resources area and has been a Resource Management Act Hearings Commissioner. 
  • They bring both unique and complementary skills to the roles. Find out more about our Tumu Taiao.

4. What are the commitments of the Tumu Taiao, in practice?

  • The Tumu Taiao may attend all workshops, briefings, and meetings of Council. To the greatest extent possible within the law, Environment Canterbury will treat the Tumu Taiao as having the same mana, rights, powers, duties and obligations as Councillors.
  • Tumu Taiao are eligible to participate and vote in all governance business except for Council meetings which would not be permitted under the Local Government Act 2002.

5. How will the Tumu Taiao work with Councillors and staff?

  • The Tumu Taiao will be treated as having the same mana, rights, powers, duties and obligations as Councillors (to the greatest extent possible within the law).
  • As we would address Councillors as ‘Councillor [surname]’, we address the Tumu Taiao as ‘Tumu Taiao [surname]’.

6. How much are the Tumu Taiao paid?

  • Environment Canterbury and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu will equally share the remuneration cost of the Tumu Taiao.
  • The remuneration for each of the two Tumu Taiao is $71,599/annum, the same remuneration payable to a Councillor at Environment Canterbury. A key principle for remuneration of the roles was ensuring that they were considered and received as equals to Councillors.

7. How will Environment Canterbury ensure the Tumu Taiao are fulfilling their intended purpose?

  • A Liaison Group of four Councillors (Chair Jenny Hughey, Deputy Chair Peter Scott, Cr Claire McKay, Cr Craig Pauling) and three Papatipu Rūnanga Chairs (Liz Brown, Rik Tainui, Jo Mclean) has been established to maintain oversight of the Tumu Taiao and ensure the roles are working effectively.

8. What will happen at the end of their term?

  • After 30 June 2021 and prior to the end of the one-year term, the Liaison Group will review whether the agreement and the roles of the Tumu Taiao have met the intended purpose and whether they wish to renew the agreement.

9. Who made the appointments to the Tumu Taiao roles?

  • The Tumu Taiao were selected by the ten Papatipu Rūnanga Chairs of the Canterbury region. Te Rūnanga o Ngai Tahu facilitated the appointment process on behalf of the ten Papatipu Rūnanga.
  • It was important that Papatipu Rūnanga hold the mana (authority) to decide who would fill the positions that will represent them.

Further information