Ngā Kaihautū Tikanga Taiao

Meet the members of Ngā Kaihautū Tikanga Taiao, our statutory Māori advisory committee.

Photo of Daniel Hikuroa, Tumuaki Tuarua, Ngā Kaihautū Tikanga TaiaoDr Daniel Hikuroa, Tumuaki Tuarua (Deputy Chair)

Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato-Tainui

Dr Daniel Hikuroa was appointed to Ngā Kaihautū in May 2016.  He is a Senior Lecturer in Te Wananga o Waipapa, University of Auckland, Commissioner for Culture, UNESCO, Co-Deputy Director at Te Pūnaha Matatini, Principal Investigator at Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga, and key researcher in the national science challenges Resilience to Natures Challenges and Sustainable Seas.

From 2011 to 2016 he was the Research Director at Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence, and prior to that he was the Community Earth Systems Science Programmes Manager at the Institute of Earth Science and Engineering, University of Auckland.

Dan is an Earth Systems Scientist who weaves mātauranga Māori and science to realise the dreams and aspirations of the communities he works with. He is an established world expert on integrating indigenous knowledge and science and has undertaken many projects including Te Awaroa – Voice of the River, co-writing the 2014 State of the Hauraki Gulf Environment Report, geothermal developments, planning river and catchment restorations, co-writing iwi environmental management plans, independent reviewer of Marine Spatial Planning processes, hazard and vulnerability assessments and industrial waste rehabilitation.

Dan has also been spearheading alternative ways of assessing sustainability, including integrating indigenous knowledge and epistemologies into assessment frameworks and decision-support tools.

Dan is a Board member of Puniu River Care, member of the Waitomo Caves Management Committee and the Waitomo Caves Environmental Advisory Group , Watercare Environmental Advisory Group, Ngati Whatua Orakei Kahui Rangahau and serves as an independent science advisor for numerous iwi and hapū trusts. 

Photo of Rick Witana Nga Kaihautu Tikanga TaiaoRick Witana

Te Aupouri

Rick Witana is on the Board of  Te Runanga Nui o Te Aupouri from the Far North. He has held numerous roles within the State Sector focussing on strategic relationship management.

Rick led Te Aupouri opposition against the breech of Maori rights around the Government’s proposed establishment of a sanctuary in the Rangitāhua/Kermadecs region (an area of cultural significance to Te Aupouri). He continues to participate in negotiations with Government Ministers to resolve and progress this process.

Rick reflected the importance of the work of the EPA for small communities like his own in Te Kao where issues such as waste, community restoration initiatives, drugs and alcohol, and conservation of iconic Northland spots are hugely important. He highlighted that the EPA and Nga Kaihautū have unique opportunities to balance development and economic opportunities with environmental and social issues.