The Aotea Conservation Park was established in April 2015, covering 12,282ha on Aotea/Great Barrier Island, which is approximately 43% of the island. The Conservation Park is a significant feature of the island and provides a range of cultural, recreation, economic and other opportunities for tangata whenua and the island community.
Tangata whenua and the island community are closely connected to the land within the Conservation Park and have a strong interest in how the park is managed. They supported creation of the park provided that they were able to influence its management through an advisory committee.
The Aotea Conservation Park Advisory Committee is established under section 56(1) of the Conservation Act 1987. It is appointed by the Minister of Conservation and has an advisory role to the Director-General and officers of the Department of Conservation. It holds no statutory decision-making powers.
Purpose of the Committee
To represent iwi and local community interests and provide advice to the Director-General about the management of the Aotea Conservation Park.
Objectives and functions of the Committee
To provide the Director-General with advice and information to aid management of the Aotea Conservation Park including on the following matters:
- Management issues such as threatened species, weed and pest control, restoration, hunting, historic resources, recreation opportunities and visitor facilities;
- Funding priorities;
- Implementation of the Auckland Conservation Management Strategy 2014-2024 and succeeding documents;
- Opportunities for growing conservation outcomes in the Conservation Park and engaging tangata whenua, the island community and others in that work;
- Supporting new and existing partnerships;
- Commenting on applications for statutory consents including concessions and permits;
- Advocating for the Conservation Park;
- Provision of public information and education about the Conservation Park;
- Fostering community support for the park including community understanding of iwi associations and values related to the Conservation Park; and
- Any other matters pertinent to management of the Conservation Park.
Membership of the Committee
The Committee shall comprise up to ten (10) members representing tangata whenua and other local community groups with key interests in the Conservation Park.
Fifty per cent (50%) of the appointed members shall represent tangata whenua to recognise the relationship established under the Treaty of Waitangi between Māori and the Crown. The other fifty per cent (50%) of the seats will provide for representation from other local community interests.
The Minister of Conservation reserves the right to appoint the Chairperson of the Committee. If the Minister chooses not to exercise that right, then the Chairperson shall be elected by simple majority of those members present at the next meeting when an election is required.
The Chairperson shall preside over all meetings of the Committee at which he/she is present. If the Chairperson is absent from any meeting, the Committee members present shall appoint one of their number to assume the role of Chairperson for that meeting.
Appointment of Committee members
The Director-General will call for nominations from tangata whenua and the island community. Nominations will be open for a minimum of twenty (20) working days and must be lodged with the specified offices of the Department of Conservation before 4.30pm on the closing date.
The Minister of Conservation will make appointments to the Committee after considering the nominations and the Director-General’s advice.
Term of appointment
Appointments to the Committee will be for a term of up to three (3) years. The specific term of each appointment shall be specified in the notice of appointment for each member. A member takes office from the date stated in their notice of appointment.
Members may from time to time be re-appointed to the Committee.
Any member of the Committee may at any time be removed from the Committee by the Minister of Conservation for bankruptcy, disability, neglect of duty, or misconduct.
Any member of the Committee may at any time resign his or her membership in writing, addressed to the Minister of Conservation.
Should any member of the Committee die, resign or be removed from the Committee, the vacancy shall be filled in the manner in which the appointment was originally made, for the residue of the term of the vacating member.
Meetings of the Committee
Time and place of meetings
The inaugural meeting of the Committee shall be within two (2) months of the appointment of the Committee, with the date and venue decided by Committee members. Subsequent meetings shall be held at such times and venues as the Chairperson or Committee decide.
Number of meetings
No more than four (4) meetings of the Committee may be held in any calendar year. Consent must firstly be obtained from the Director-General for any additional meetings.
A quorum of the Committee shall comprise at least six (6) members of the whole Committee. No business shall be transacted unless a quorum is present.
Every question before the Committee shall be determined by a majority of members present voting on the question.
Only those members present at a meeting may vote at that meeting.
At any meeting of the Committee the Chairperson shall, in the case of an equality of vote, also have a casting vote being a second vote.
Subject to these rules the Committee may regulate its own practices.
Conflicts of interest
At the start of each meeting Committee members shall declare if they have any conflicts of interest in relation to any item on the meeting agenda, and take appropriate steps at the direction of the Chairperson.
Attendance by representatives of the Director-General
The Director-General shall be represented at meetings of the Committee by staff of the Department of Conservation. Staff members are not voting members of the Committee.
The Director-General shall provide administrative support to the Committee including the preparation of agendas and the recording of minutes.
An annual report of the Committee shall be prepared and sent to the Minister of Conservation by the end of July each year.
Auckland Conservation Board
The provision of advice to the Director-General by the Committee will not prevent the Auckland Conservation Board from separately providing advice to the Director-General on the same or related matters.
A copy of the annual report of the Committee shall be sent to the Auckland Conservation Board.
Fees and allowances
Fees and allowances payable to Committee members will be in accordance with the State Services Commission guidelines for members of statutory bodies appointed by the Crown. Fees will be set at the same rate as those received by Auckland Conservation Board members.
Fees and allowances will only be paid for work, other than preparation and attendance at Committee meetings, that has been approved and minuted by the Committee and for which it is undertaken.
Amendments to Terms of Reference and procedures
The Minister of Conservation reserves the right to amend these Terms of Reference and procedures at any time. The Minister will consult with the Committee before making any amendments.
Pursuant to section 56(1) of the Conservation Act 1987 these Terms of Reference and procedures for the Aotea Conservation Park Advisory Committee were approved by Hon Maggie Barry ONZM, Minister of Conservation, on 10 April 2015.
The Minister of Conservation approved an amendment to the Terms of Reference on 9 December 2015.