There are two separate legs to the problem of Kati Huirapa wanting an unelected seat on the ONHT Trust Board. One is the democratic leg which has been thoroughly discussed, but the second is the Maori view of conservation which I have commonly found to be different from the Pakeha view. I am using Pakeha here in the way that Michael King uses it - the common culture of non-Maori New Zealanders, which is something to acknowledge and celebrate.
The Trust was set up by Pakeha with Pakeha aims described as preservation, protection, conservation and fostering of New Zealand flora and fauna, with a strong educational focus as well. When DoC gave over management of the area to the Trust, and when the University of Otago, the Otago Museum and NHNZ signed MOUs with the Trust this would have been their understanding of what they were agreeing to - a Pakeha institution with Pakeha aims.
If we think as Pakeha about the place of people in the Ecosanctuary, human beings clearly have a place inside the fence. But their place has to do more with HOW the objective is achieved, not the objective itself. By educating, you gain support for the objective and explain why an intact ecosystem is important. And the only way that humans enter the system of physical energy exchange inside the fence is by input (adding plants, animals, expending energy on maintenance), without taking out energy in the form of food or plant materials. With this attitude, we can even contemplate the ambition of restoring Orokonui to an entire forested ecosystem in its pre-human state.
The Maori viewpoint at this simple practical level is different.
Maori conservation includes terms such as:
1. Taiapure which are areas involving management of fisheries and controlling the taking of fish by runaka,
2. Mataitai which are areas for customary taking of shellfish and other marine foods.
3. Rahui - can mean regulation by a chief to preserve an area so as to improve a resource such as pigeons.
Even though Maori don't think in such terms, they see humans as part of the physical exchange of energy within the ecosystem, taking as well as giving, even though they add spiritual values into the mix. Pakeha spiritual values about conservation are all about giving in the short term at least, with any long term gain a very long way off and about preservation of the planet as a whole. I have never heard a Maori discussion about restoring a place to its pre-human state, and I doubt that it would appeal, at either a practical or spiritual level.
So I consider:-
That Maori do have different conservation values from Pakeha and these need to be discussed.
Maori and Pakeha both need to respect each other views.
Orokonui was set up in pursuit of a specifically Pakeha conservation ethic.
If local iwi wish for any sort of formal partnership, they must openly accept that ethic for Orokonui, just as we have accepted the setting up of taiapure and maitaitai in coastal waters. They must declare for "all give and no take"at Orokonui in the foreseeable future.