RMLA ‘Mini Conference’ : Riding the wave of the future

RMLA is delighted to advise that it is going to hold a ‘mini-conference’ this year in Wellington on 22 October at the Kumutoto Venue, PWC Centre, (Dual Taniwha Room), 10 Waterloo Quay, which will also be livestreamed for those who cannot attend in person.  You will be aware that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s RMLA Annual Conference scheduled for September in Rotorua was postponed to 2021.

But we will not let Covid-19 define us!  And that is why we wish to bring you an opportunity to be involved, show support and increase your knowledge.

As a result of a comprehensive review of the resource management system conducted by the independent Resource Management Review Panel, and chaired by retired Court of Appeal Judge Hon Tony Randerson QC, his Honour has agreed to speak to members on the Panel’s recommendations including the reasons for recommending repeal of the RMA and its replacement with the Natural and Built Environments Act and the Strategic Planning Act.

Following his Honour’s presentation, the RMLA Awards will be presented live in Wellington.  RMLA has received several exciting nominations and the Award Committee’s selection will be made known at this time.  For further information re sponsorship, please go to this link: Sponsorship Opportunities or contact Karol Helmink, email: karol.helmink@rmla.org.nz or telephone 027 272 3960.

Moving on in the programme, we will have a panel discussion on Māori Rights and Interests in Freshwater.  The panellists will reflect a range of different perspectives on this issue to stimulate an interesting debate.   This issue is not going away, with the Randerson Panel encouraging the Crown and Māori to address and resolve this issue sooner rather than later.  There is significant opportunity to achieve better environmental, cultural, economic and social outcomes through freshwater reform and the panel will discuss how to address this.

CPD: 2 hours

Meet the Panellists:

Paul Beverley, Partner, Buddle Findlay

Paul leads Buddle Findlay’s resource management and Māori law team in Wellington where he specialises in RMA planning and consenting processes, Māori law and relationships, and Treaty settlement negotiations. He has just completed a three year term as the national chair of Buddle Findlay.

Paul works extensively in the area of collaborating and negotiating with iwi/Māori and advising on Māori law issues and relationship frameworks.   He has been a member of the core Crown design, negotiation and drafting teams on numerous Treaty of Waitangi settlements, including on the ‘legal personality’ models reflected in Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River), Te Urewera (Tūhoe) and currently in the negotiations relating to Taranaki Maunga (Mt Taranaki). Paul’s particular focus is on designing and negotiating co-governance, co-management and relationship frameworks between the Crown, local government and Māori, including in the context of coastal and fresh water arrangements.

Maia Wikaira, Director, Whāia Legal

Prior to joining Whāia Legal, Maia worked for the largest federally recognised tribe in California, the Yurok Tribe. There she was admitted to practise Yurok Tribal Law, and also represented the tribe in engagement with federal, state and other tribal governments. Maia maintains her practising certificate in Yurok Tribal Law. Before her time in the US, Maia worked at Russell McVeagh, in their Resource Management, Māori Legal and Commercial Litigation teams, and at Kāhui Legal. Maia has appeared in the Waitangi Tribunal, Environment Court, Māori Land Court, High Court and Court of Appeal.

Maia speaks Te Reo Māori and conversational Spanish.

Jamie Ferguson, Partner, Kāhui Legal

Jamie has been in private practice for over 20 years, becoming a partner at Walters Williams & Co, after 8 years at a large national law firm in New Zealand.

Jamie works primarily in the areas of litigation and public law. He has been involved extensively in litigation in the Waitangi Tribunal, Māori Land Court, Environment Court, High Court and Court of Appeal involving historic and contemporary Māori issues including fisheries, settlement negotiations, land ownership and administration, and resource management. He has also appeared twice in the Privy Council. For the past 15 years Jamie has represented Te Ohu Kai Moana and advises on matters relating to the operation and implementation of aspects of the Māori fisheries settlement. He also represents iwi in Treaty settlements (including in relation to the Whanganui and Waikato River settlements), and advises the Freshwater Iwi Advisory Group on the policy work relating to the Government’s freshwater management regime.

Riki Ellison, Director, Waka Taurua Ltd

Riki has worked in environmental management roles for over 20 years, straddling both sides of the Treaty partnership.  He has undertaken a number of senior and executive management roles for iwi as well as with central and local government and the private sector.  Riki has been an adviser to the Pou Taiao and Freshwater Iwi Advisory Group for over 10 years, was a member of the Land and Water Forum, is currently a member of the Kahui Wai Maori Ministerial Advisory Group on fresh water, and a member of the Lakes 380 project team.

Riki has previously been a member of the Board of Directors for the Ngāi Tahu Development Corporation, is a fellow of the First Nations Futures Institute at Stanford University, and is also an alumnus of the Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue.

Tina Porou

Tina is of Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngai Tāmanuhiri and Ngāti Rakaipaaka descent and founded Poipoia, a kaupapa Māori company committed to providing environmental services to iwi, the public and private sector. These services are derived from the holistic principles of kaitiakitanga.

Tina has worked as an environmental planner and a tangata whenua advocate in the natural resource management space for over 20 years on projects that have included developing papakainga houses for social wellbeing, facilitating environmental restoration programmes, engaging in national policy interventions on water, climate change and biodiversity while working with iwi and councils to enable stronger decision sharing relationships. Tina has specific experience in the areas of water allocation and quality, geothermal development and cultural impact assessments.

This broad range of work provided a strong platform for sustainable development approaches, all from a tangata whenua perspective. Tina  held the role of the Head of Sustainability at Contact Energy which provided deep experience in corporate responsibility and the operationalisation of these ideals in a commercial space and more broader assisting Māori businesses delve deeper into their own kaitiakitanga aspirations.

Tina has international experience speaking in a range of spaces on natural resource management including the UN in Rome, representing Iwi at COP21 in Paris and presenting at the Din’e Reservation in New Mexico.

Tina holds board governance positions on the Lake Taupo Forest Trust, Ngāti Porou Forests, Tātau Tātau o te Wairoa Commercial Board and is based in Wellington. Poipoia has a small team of experienced iwi practitioners and technicians in the field of resource management from across the regions. Tina’s broad experience in working with hapū, whānau and iwi has provided her with a multi layered approach to natural resource management that provides unique perspectives to address environmental challenges.

Tina has a 20 year old daughter, Te Rina, 5 nieces and her favorite nephew Meihana.

RMLA thanks the following sponsors for their support:


Keynote – Hon Tony Randerson QC – proudly sponsored by Buddle Findlay


Livestream – proudly sponsored by B&A

Panel Discussion – proudly sponsored by Anderson Lloyd 

1 x Award – proudly sponsored by Russell McVeagh


When: 22 October 2020

Time: 3:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Where: Kumutoto Venue, PWC Centre (Dual Taniwha Room)

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