Principal Reasons for Adopting the Objective
This chapter has been included in the Plan to give a clear policy framework for how Waikato Regional Council will give effect to its obligations under Part III of the RMA. Section 6(e) of the RMA requires that Council recognises and provides for the relationship of Maori and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, sites, waahi tapu, and other taonga. Section 7(a) requires Council to have particular regard to kaitiakitanga and s8 requires council to take into account the principles of the Treaty Waitangi.
The objective acknowledges the concern expressed in the issues that within the Region there have been no clear processes to define the relationship of tangata whenua with natural and physical resources, creating barriers to the successful implementation of Part II of the RMA. A lack of processes has lead to uncertainty, unnecessary costs and tangata whenua being hindered giving effect to kaitiakitanga. Reducing the uncertainty for all parties results in a reduction in the costs of the consent process to all involved and an increased ability to tangata whenua to be able to give effect to kaitiakitanga in accordance with s7(a) of the RMA.
Kaitiaki refers to tangata whenua who exercise kaitiakitanga which is defined in Part 1 or the RMA as:
“Kaitiakitanga means the exercise of guardianship by the tangata whenua of an area in accordance with tikanga Maori in relation to natural and physical resources; and includes the ethic of stewardship:”
In choosing the terms ‘Kaitiaki’ and ‘Kaitiakitanga’ Council is stating that it will give priority to the concerns of Maori based on their status as tangata whenua and as Kaitiaki, whilst maintaining the ability of Council to consider the concerns of other groups who are not tangata whenua. The phrasing addresses the concerns of tangata whenua who exercise Kaitiakitanga over specific resources, ahead of other Maori submitters to a resource consent who have a relationship that is not based on the present day exercise of kaitiakitanga. This provides certainty to both resource users and tangata whenua as to the status of all parties involved in the process and will ensure that local hapu or whanau are empowered to give real expression to their role as Kaitiaki through the planning and consent process. These terms are also consistent with Part II of RMA.