Te Arawa Lakes Trust role a homecoming for new Environmental Manager


For immediate release

June 19, 2017


Te Arawa Lakes Trust role a homecoming for new Environmental Manager


Nicki Douglas believes the Te Arawa Lakes Trust is destined to be a world leader in freshwater management, and it’s now her role to help them achieve that.

Ms Douglas says the work which has been done over the past decade ensures the Trust is well on its way to being a leader in its field, and continuing that progress will be a focus during her one year secondment to the Trust as its Environmental Manager.

Adding to that drive are Ms Douglas’ strong links with Te Arawa, links which ultimately saw her return from the Waikato to Rotorua for the job.

“It’s great to come back to Rotorua, which I consider home, and work for my iwi.”

Ms Douglas, who is affiliated to Ngati Whakaue and Ngati Rangiwewehi, believes those iwi links give her an important edge.

“Having the opportunity to come back and make a difference for my people is special to me. It’s great to do something to help future generations of Te Arawa.”

Ms Douglas has spent the past 15 years working for Department of Conservation in a variety of operational and strategic management roles, and she plans to bring the skills she has learnt to the Trust. She is grateful to the Department for allowing her secondment.

Since starting with the Trust two weeks ago, Ms Douglas has been focused on connecting with as many people as possible and getting know the people she will be working with at the Trust. 

“There are some great people on the Te Arawa Lakes team and I feel so privileged to be working with alongside them"

“The team here are focused on ensuring Te Arawa values are known and then provided for in decision making; my role is to ensure active participation by Te Arawa whanau, hapu and iwi in the lakes restoration programmes.

“That might be supporting hapu to be heard and getting them to the table or sourcing resources so whanau and hapu are able to undertake restoration of their lakes, wetlands and streams; improving the mauri of our lakes and people.

“Another focus is being a good partner alongside Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Rotorua Lakes Council to restore our lakes.

“This means engaging with Te Arawa and the wider community, sharing our views and values and creating opportunities for Te Arawatanga to be on display around our lakes. “

Ms Douglas will also work with the Trust’s commercial arm, supporting their current shift towards sustainability.

Trust Chief Executive Karen Vercoe says while it is Ms Douglas’ knowledge around conservation and ability to build strong relationships that are needed for this role, she also believes it is Ms Douglas’ connection with, and deep passion for, the environment gives her an edge.

The Trust was formed following the Treaty Settlement to manage the settlement package.

The Trust is responsible for the sustainable and responsible oversight and management of Te Arawa’s settlement assets including the region’s 14 lakes and Te Tauapapa o nga wai o Te Arawa (the Te Arawa Cultural Values Framework). 

Its wholly owned entity Te Arawa Management Limited is to optimise commercial resources, both those secured under and as part of the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement, and the commercial assets of the former Te Arawa Maori Trust Board.