Te Herenga

Our National Māori Network, Te Herenga, is a forum for kaitiaki and environmental resource managers to come together and discuss important environmental issues.

The network was named after a pounamu mauri stone, Te Herenga, gifted to the EPA in 2012 by Ngāi Tahu.

The name Te Herenga means ‘the mooring’. It is a metaphor for a place that kaitiaki and environmental resource managers and experts can come together to discuss important environmental issues.

The Te Herenga Network was set up following a review in 2012 of the Māori National Network that existed under the EPA’s predecessor, ERMA New Zealand.

Membership Plus

The Te Herenga Māori Network brings together Māori resource and environmental managers, practitioners and experts who represent their iwi, hapū or Māori organisation.

Members share knowledge and experiences, as well as actively contribute to EPA initiatives and improve the engagement for applications being processed by the EPA.

Hui Plus
Regional hui

Each year we hold a number of regional Te Herenga hui. These hui provide an opportunity for us to better understand the issues mana whenua are facing on the ground in their rohe, and for participants to interact with us and other agencies involved in environmental management. They may also include training in aspects of the application process.

Biennial hui

Every 2 years we hold a Te Herenga National hui. These hui are for all Te Herenga members to come together and wananga about environmental issues relating to the EPA. They provide an opportunity for members across the motu to gather kanohi ki te kanohi and share perspectives. 

These hui also provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for tangata whenua participants to interact with us and other agencies involved in environmental management.

They may also provide professional development opportunities for Network members on topics such as cultural impact assessment and project management.

Terms of Reference and Kawa Plus

Read about Te Herenga – its origins, purpose, membership, relationship to the EPA, activities, and work programme:

Te Herenga Terms of Reference 2016-19 (docx 156KB)

Presentation of Te Herenga to the EPA Plus

In December 2012, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu gifted the pounamu mauri stone Te Herenga to the new Network in recognition of its unique purpose and relationship – and allowed the Network to use its name.


Te Herenga pounamu stone

Te Herenga pounamu stone

The naturalised piece of pounamu was presented to the Environmental Protection Authority during a special ceremony.

During the ceremony held at the EPA, the pounamu, named Te Herenga by the Ngāi Tahu team, was formally presented by Mr. Ellison to the EPA’s Board and staff.

The EPA is honoured to be entrusted as guardians of Te Herenga as a mauri for the Tikanga & Technology kaupapa and as a talisman for future kaitiaki hui. It is a tangible and beautiful acknowledgement of the positive relationship between the EPA and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and of our commitment to working in partnership with all Māori.

Kerry Prendergast, EPA Board Chair.

Te Herenga

The 42 kg pounamu was discovered on September 28, 2012 in a stream bed in the Humboldt mountain range, in an area west of Te Awa Whakatipu. It was found by a Ngāi Tahu team consisting of Steve Bryant, Ewan Duff, Mark Te Aua, and Matt Lambeth, on behalf of the Southern Kaitiaki Rūnanga Pounamu Working Group.

It was originally presented at an EPA Māori National Network hui, held at Puketeraki Marae near Dunedin in October 2012. The piece was presented at the request of Edward Ellison, Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou and Chair of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Komiti of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

Accompanying the pounamu is a whariki (mat), rope, and a small kete (basket), which were all woven from harakeke (flax) by Maureen Harte. Maureen lives in Golden Bay in the South Island and began weaving flax in 2000. As well as selling her weavings in galleries across New Zealand, Maureen runs flax weaving workshops.


Along with the whariki, rope and kete, the pounamu was presented with a scroll inscribed with this waiata:

Tui, tui tuituia
Tuia i runga, tuia i raro
Tuia i roto, tuia i waho
Tuia i te here tangata.

Bind, join, be one,
Bind above, bind below,
Bind within, bind without,
Tie the knot of humankind.

Unite, unite, be one,
Unite above, unite below,
Unite within, unite without,
Unite in the brotherhood of man.