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Te pou o te whakatupua

Te pou o te whakatawhito

Te pou o Ranginui e tū nei!


The celestial post
The ancient post
The pillar of universal order!


The purpose of Te Pou Tupua is to be the human face and act in the name of Te Awa Tupua.

Te Pou Tupua is comprised of two people forming one station.



The functions of Te Pou Tupua are to:

  • act and speak on behalf of Te Awa Tupua

  •  uphold:

    1. (a)  the Te Awa Tupua status; and

    2. (b)  Tupua te Kawa;

  • promote and protect the health and wellbeing of Te Awa Tupua;

  • except as otherwise provided for in this document, exercise landowner functions in relation to any land vested in Te Awa Tupua

  • administer Te Korotete o Te Awa Tupua;

  • maintain the Te Awa Tupua register; and

  • take any other action reasonably necessary to achieve its purpose and exercise its functions.


In November 2017 Turama Hawira and Dame Tariana Turia were officially inaugerated into the the joint role of Te Pou Tupua at a ceremony at Ngāpuwaiwaha marae, Taumarunui.




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Turama Hawira is a highly experienced advisor and educator having been mentored in the ritual practises of the Whare Wānanga o Aotea and having lectured in undergraduate studies for several Māori tertiary institutions. As a trustee of Te Reo o Whanganui Trust, he has co-designed and delivered Iwi curriculum education training courses under the auspices of UCOL, Whanganui.

Fluent in Te Reo o Whanganui, Mr Hawira has been a trustee and director of several hapū and iwi trusts, and organisations including chairing the Nga Rauru Iwi post settlement governance entity. He is also currently serving his fifteenth year as a responsible trustee of the Morikaunui Incorporation.

He has performed numerous advisory roles with local and central government and private sector organisations, including providing tikanga and cultural advice. He has provided advice and presented research on behalf of hapū and iwi claimants of the wider Whanganui-Ruapehu district, including before the Whanganui District Inquiry of the Waitangi Tribunal, WAI 903.

Mr. Hawira has been reappointed to serve a second term and brings extensive cultural knowledge and practical experience of the Iwi of Whanganui River to the role.



Keria Ponga together with her late husband Royce Te Rangitautahi Ponga have been central to many key efforts for the Whanganui River. For more than 40 years, Mrs Ponga has amassed a deep appreciation and love of Whanganui Awa tribal knowledge, as well as a career in community development, private enterprise, business mentoring and economic development within a national context. Mrs Ponga offers experience having held governance and leadership roles within several organisations, the most current being Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation, and the Sarjeant Gallery Trust.

 Born and raised at Pūtiki alongside her elders, Mrs Ponga brings to the role of Te Pou Tupua an intimate understanding of Te Awa Tupua, and a commitment to serve her Iwi for the betterment of future generations.


In exercising its functions Te Pou Tupua

  • must, in recognising the inalienable interconnection between the iwi and hapū of the Whanganui River and Te Awa Tupua, develop appropriate mechanisms for engaging with and reporting to those iwi and hapū on matters relating to Te Awa Tupua;

  • may, from time to time, report publicly on matters relating to Te Awa Tupua;

  • may engage with any relevant agency, decision-maker or other body to assist that agency, decision-maker or body in its understanding, application and implementation of the Te Awa Tupua status and Tupua te Kawa including, if agreed, the development or review of relevant guidelines or policies; and

  • may participate in relevant statutory processes.



  • Te Pou Tupua is, through the appointment process, symbolic of the Treaty partnership between the Crown and iwi.

  • Te Pou Tupua comprises a singular role exercised jointly by two persons

  • The two persons to be appointed to the position of Te Pou Tupua are intended to be persons of high standing, recognising both the importance of the role and the need to interact with Ministers and other agencies, iwi and hapū, organisations and communities at a leadership level.

  • The two persons to be appointed to the position of Te Pou Tupua will be appointed by iwi with interests in the Whanganui River and the Crown ("appointers") as follows:

    • one person will be nominated by iwi with interests in the Whanganui River;

    • one person will be nominated by the Crown; and

      1.  iwi with interests in the Whanganui River and the Crown will jointly and by agreement appoint two persons to the position of Te Pou Tupua:

                    (a)  based on the nominations referred to above; and

                    (b)  having regard to the joint ability of the nominees to fulfil the purpose and exercise the functions of Te Pou Tupua.





Te Karewao is an advisory group established to advise and support Te Pou Tupua in the exercise of its functions.

Te Karewao will be convened from time to time as required and at the request of Te Pou Tupua

Te Karewao is comprised of:

  • one person appointed by Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui;

  • one person appointed by other iwi with interests in the Whanganui River; and

  • one person appointed by the relevant local authorities.

  • Where Te Pou Tupua is exercising a function that relates to a discrete part of the Whanganui River, Te Karewao will be comprised of: one additional person appointed by the iwi and hapū with interests in the relevant area.




Siani Walker

(Appointed by Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui)


Ngāti Tupoho, Ngāti Rangi

Siani's childhood relationship and memories have ignited her desire to reconnect with Te Awa Tupua and be informed by Te Awa Tupua hapū. She is humbled by the knowledge, passion and commitment of those before her who have incrementally and staunchly lead the kaupapa for Te Awa Tupua. Siani is passionate about contributing to the mahi needed to support Te Pou Tupua to ensure the voice of Te Awa Tupua is heard, that recognition of Te Awa Tupua is clearly understood by communities, and to make a contribution and difference in the care, nuture and management of this taonga.



Annette Main

(appointed by the relevant local authorities)


Annette was the Mayor of Whanganui during a fairly tumultuous time.

Her six years in the role included guiding the community through the process

to correct the spelling of the district, confirming the rebuild of a failed

wastewater plant, regaining a positive reputation and stimulating growth, and

leading the regions mayors during that time, through the process of initial

understanding of the proposed Te Awa Tupua legislation.



Wiari Rauhina

(appointed by other Iwi with interests in the Whanganui River)


Nō Ngati Tuwharetoa raua ko Ngati Raukawa Wiari was born and raised in Taumarunui and educated at Tipene Kura and Wellington Polytechnic. 

Wiari has worked in Enviromental 

Health and as a Building Inspector for the Councils of Taumarunui, Waimarino, 

Ohakune and Raetihi. 

He has also been a Social Worker working for the Social Welfare Department, holding managerial roles.  

In May 2018, Wiari was elected as Chairman for Te Kotahitanga o Ngati Tuwharetoa. 


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