Kaupapa | Initiative
The Hauraki Gulf Forum works to restore and protect Aotearoa New Zealand’s national taonga and first marine park, Tīkapa Moana | Te Moananui-ā-Toi | the Hauraki Gulf. The Forum’s Chief Executive, Alex Rogers, was approached by Foundation North who were seeking to fund kaupapa that support the restoration of Tīkapa Moana through its Gulf Innovation Fund Together (GIFT).
“We realised then we had a great opportunity to take our mahi to the next level by partnering with a kaupapa Māori government relations firm that has a deep understanding of te ao Māori – so Awhi was our first port of call.”
Wero | The Challenge
As a statutory body, the Forum already had strong working relationships with its Ministers, but recognised the importance of engaging across Parliament for long-term progress on restoring and protecting Tīkapa Moana.
“It’s really important to us that progress to restore and protect the Gulf is bipartisan, and that as we make change, we ensure it is enduring–to the benefit of te taiao.”
Te Āhua Mahi | Our Approach
The first step was to sit with the Awhi tīma and map out a long term strategy for the kaupapa.
“From our early sessions to refine our messaging, develop our collateral and create a clear action plan, the Awhi team could not have been more supportive.”
Alex says that one of the biggest lessons for him was how empowering the process could be.
“Before we started working with Awhi, we had a handful of relationships in Wellington. Now, we’ve engaged with dozens of MPs around the country, we’re working across Parliament to encourage stronger action to help the Gulf and we’re being approached with ongoing opportunities to promote our mahi.”
Ngā Hua | The Outcome
During the engagement process, Alex also experienced a growing recognition of the leadership role that mana whenua have adopted, with hapū and iwi often acknowledged for the direct action they are taking to restore and protect the Gulf.
Always having someone from the Awhi team with us on this journey gave us a real sense of being cared for - or awhi’d - through this journey, and we were far better off undertaking this work in partnership with professionals than trying to do it on our own.
As the long-term results of the Forum’s engagement continue to evolve, Alex says restoring and protecting Aotearoa New Zealand’s national taonga is now in a much better place to see long-term, enduring policy that protects Tīkapa Moana for generations to come.