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2.3.4 Implementation Methods

These methods outline the processes by which Council will work with tangata whenua to implement its responsibilities under s6, 7 and 8 of RMA. The methods implement the commitments that Council made in the policy framework above and Section 2.1.4, 2.1.5 and 3.15.3 of the RPS and outline how Waikato Regional Council will implement them. Some of the methods reflect current practice and build on those methods in the RPS and others signal new directions. The methods will, where appropriate, be implemented through agreements between Waikato Regional Council and tangata whenua such as memoranda of understanding.

2.3.4.1 Identification of Iwi Authorities

Waikato Regional Council will, through consultation with tangata whenua, identify iwi, hapu and whanau* who have the authority to speak on behalf of tangata whenua on resource management issues in their respective rohe.

2.3.4.2 Establishing a Working Relationship

Waikato Regional Council will work within tribal systems and structures when establishing relationships with tangata whenua in the integrated management of natural and physical resources of this Region.

2.3.4.3 Integration with Territorial Authorities

Waikato Regional Council will have regard to territorial authority initiatives when establishing relationships with iwi.

2.3.4.4 Treaty Claims

Waikato Regional Council will facilitate the open and early exchange of information enabling liaison between claimants and applicants on methods for avoiding adverse effect in consent processes on the basis of prejudice to Treaty claims.

2.3.4.5 Iwi Management Plans

Waikato Regional Council will support and encourage tangata whenua, through iwi authorities and tribal runanga, in the development of Iwi Management Plans which document their resource management issues, perspectives and processes by providing information and staff expertise. The extent and nature of the support may be specified through memoranda of understanding between Council and iwi groups.

2.3.4.6 Identification of Areas/Characteristics of Special Value

Waikato Regional Council will work with tangata whenua to identify areas or characteristics of special value to tangata whenua that require protection from use or development in the Region.

2.3.4.7 Collect Information on Tangata Whenua Issues

Waikato Regional Council will collect, collate and have accessible, publicly available information on tangata whenua issues and perspectives of the natural and physical resources in the Region.

2.3.4.8 Culturally Sensitive Information

Waikato Regional Council will work with tangata whenua to identify issues and establish protocols and processes regarding the holding, use and dissemination of culturally sensitive information in resource management processes.

2.3.4.9 Dissemination of Information

Waikato Regional Council will seek to identify and meet the resource information needs of tangata whenua. This includes facilitating tangata whenua access to any publicly available data or information held by Waikato Regional Council, relating to resources, or resource use or management, within their rohe.

2.3.4.10 Education

Waikato Regional Council will implement ongoing training programmes for relevant Waikato Regional Council staff and councillors relating to:

  1. tangata whenua resource management issues/perspectives
  2. marae protocol
  3. tikanga Maori
  4. Maori pronunciation
  5. Treaty of Waitangi.

2.3.4.11 Raising Awareness of Tangata Whenua Issues

Waikato Regional Council will, where appropriate and relevant, use its publications to raise awareness of tangata whenua resource management issues and perspectives.

2.3.4.12 Facilitating Tangata Whenua Involvement

Waikato Regional Council will, where appropriate:

  1. promote tangata whenua awareness of RMA processes
  2. facilitate tangata whenua participation in the processes of resource consents
  3. facilitate tangata whenua participation in the development of regional plans and policy statements.

2.3.4.13 Tangata Whenua Contacts Database

Waikato Regional Council will, for the purposes of assisting consultation, establish and maintain a database of tangata whenua contacts in the Region.

2.3.4.14 Consultation Protocols

Waikato Regional Council will consult with tangata whenua including iwi authorities and tribal runanga and, having regard to consultation case-law, tikanga Maori and legislative requirements, to establish mutually agreed consultation protocols for consultation between Waikato Regional Council and tangata whenua.

2.3.4.15 Consultation with Tangata Whenua

Waikato Regional Council will consult with tangata whenua including iwi authorities and tribal runanga on consent applications, regional plan development, reviews and changes, and other of its plans or activities which may affect tangata whenua interests.

2.3.4.16 Marae-Based Meetings

Waikato Regional Council will encourage marae-based meetings as appropriate when consulting with tangata whenua on resource management issues.

2.3.4.17 Consultation Guidelines

Waikato Regional Council, in consultation with tangata whenua, will develop and publish guidelines that assist resource users to understand some of the issues of concern to tangata whenua, how to meet RMA requirements and where to ask for assistance with identification of tangata whenua.

2.3.4.18 Customary Uses

When considering plan and policy development and resource consent applications, Waikato Regional Council will take account of tangata whenua customary use of resources.

2.3.4.19 Discharge of Human-based Sewage Effluents

Waikato Regional Council recognises the cultural offence of discharge of human-based sewage effluent directly into water and will require the investigation and assessment of landdisposal options against other alternatives. If such investigation and assessment establishes that land-disposal is not practicable and/or affordable Waikato Regional Council will encourage options involving a land-based treatment component.

2.3.4.20 Hearing Commissioners

Waikato Regional Council will consider, as appropriate, the appointment of hearing commissioners with relevant tikanga Maori expertise on resource management issues of concern to tangata whenua while having regard to established criteria for selecting committee members.

2.3.4.21 Marae-Based Hearings

Waikato Regional Council will consider the use of the marae where appropriate for all or part of resource consent hearings. In deciding whether or not such a venue is appropriate Waikato Regional Council will consider the impartiality of venue, the comfort of the parties involved, and participants and the logistics involved.

2.3.4.22 Process To Be Followed Where Waahi Tapu Sites Are Identified During Exercise of Permitted Activities

Where a waahi tapu site is identified during a permitted activity or resource consent Waikato Regional Council will, without undue delay, consider the following prior to granting approval for the activity to continue:

  1. Ascertain tangata whenua interests and values (including metaphysical values), after appropriate consultation with tangata whenua who are kaitiaki for that site
  2. the resource user’s interests
  3. any archaeological, historical or scientific evidence
  4. the purpose and principles of the RMA, the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act, the Pouakani Claims Settlement Act 2000 or other relevant legislation.

2.3.4.23 Consultation with Tangata Whenua and Promotion of Kaitiakitanga

Waikato Regional Council will:

  1. consult with tangata whenua on a resource and site specific basis, and develop the meaning of kaitiakitanga as it applies to the management of resources within their rohe
  2. consult with tangata whenua to seek to identify opportunities for the practical expression of kaitiakitanga in relation to resources in their rohe.

2.3.4.24 Transfer of Powers to Tangata Whenua

Waikato Regional Council will where appropriate and able to be justified under the tests of s33 of the RMA, transfer RMA functions, powers or duties, in relation to the management of resources which are identified as being of special value to the tangata whenua.

2.3.4.25 Tangata Whenua Participation in Resource Monitoring

Waikato Regional Council will seek, to facilitate opportunities for participation of tangata whenua in the monitoring of the use of resources and subsequent effects through:

  1. resource consents processes where is this mutually agreeable to tangata whenua and consent applicants; and/or
  2. regional trend monitoring processes.

 

Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting Methods 2.3.4.1 to 2.3.4.25
With regard to the Method 2.3.4.1, local authorities need to understand tribal structure, the concept of mana whenua* and who has authority to speak on resource management issues. Although the identification of mana whenua is something that tangata whenua decide, Waikato Regional Council needs to be aware of appropriate people to approach, and to become familiar with working within tangata whenua processes. This information needs to be accessible so that resource users and the community are also aware of the appropriate people to approach.

Method 2.3.4.2 recognises that Waikato Regional Council is aware that there is some iwi who would like to have further involvement in the management of resources in their rohe. It is recognised that tangata whenua have structures and protocols which Waikato Regional Council should respect and acknowledge. However, it is also recognised that for this to occur, a wellfounded working relationship needs to be established.

Method 2.3.4.3 recognises that many territorial authorities have their own initiatives to establish a working relationship with tangata whenua within their boundaries. To increase efficiency and reduce duplication of effort it is important to Waikato Regional Council to take into account these initiatives.

Waikato Regional Council is not a party to Treaty claims and information on treaty claims is disseminated from central government. There are many Treaty claims by different tribal groups on natural resources throughout the Region. Such claims pertain primarily to ownership of resources. Despite the fact that the RMA is concerned with resource management rather than ownership, Maori claimants will almost certainly have an interest where the particular resource is the subject of a resource consent application. Method 2.3.4.4 indicates that in these situation, Waikato Regional Council will endeavour to ensure that appropriate iwi contact persons are informed and consulted with.

Iwi Management Plans can make clear statements about the management of resources within the rohe of tangata whenua in the Region. From Waikato Regional Council’s perspective, they are a very effective method for the view of tangata whenua to be brought into the arena of resource management. Council accordingly supports the development of such plans in Method 2.3.4.5. Waikato Regional Council is also required to have regard to any Iwi Management Plan in developing policy or plans.

Method 2.3.4.6 recognises that there is a need for Waikato Regional Council to identify areas of special value to tangata whenua, to record their location and manage this information in a manner acceptable to tangata whenua.

Method 2.3.4.7 recognises that in order to properly undertake its policy and regulatory functions, Waikato Regional Council requires information regarding tangata whenua issues and perspectives on resource management. This information may, from time to time, be provided through consultation as part of consent processes, or through Iwi Management Plans. However, Waikato Regional Council also needs to be proactive in gathering such information, particularly with regard to policy development.

Information held by tangata whenua which has resource management significance, may also be culturally sensitive. An example of this is the location of waahi tapu sites. Method 2.3.4.8 recognises that tangata whenua frequently prefer to keep this information out of the public domain in order to protect these sites. Tangata whenua may, however, to allow Waikato Regional Council access to such information in cases where there are development proposals which may inadvertently threaten such sites. There are various legal issues concerning the ability of territorial authorities to keep information confidential. Primary amongst these are the requirements of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987. Different tribal groups will have different preferences regarding the way in which such information should be held and used. Waikato Regional Council will investigate the feasibility of holding and using confidential information. If it is feasible, Waikato Regional Council will establish mutually agreed protocols with tangata whenua where requested, for the management of this information.

Method 2.3.4.9 recognises that many tribal groups have expressed a need for better information regarding the state and use of resources within their rohe. As part of building relationships with tangata whenua, Waikato Regional Council will aim to meet these needs.

Method 2.3.4.10 acknowledges that Waikato Regional Council will be better able to perform its functions, particularly in regard to its regulatory and policy development roles, if its staff and councillors have a good understanding of Maori issues, values and perspectives. Some proficiency and knowledge of Maori pronunciation and marae protocol will also facilitate effective consultation with tangata whenua.

Method 2.3.4.11 recognises that Waikato Regional Council can play a role in raising awareness of Maori issues and perspectives through its external publications (e.g. EnviroCare, Regional Report) and other educational activities. Waikato Regional Council takes an active environmental education role in the community because it believes that people have a right to be informed about environmental issues and that an informed community makes better choices regarding the use, development and protection of resources. The same applies in regard to environmental issues of concern to Maori.

As part of building relationships with tangata whenua, Waikato Regional Council can play a significant role in raising tangata whenua awareness of RMA regulatory and policy processes. Method 2.3.4.12 recognises that this should assist tangata whenua to have more effective and efficient input to processes and better outcomes for both. Resourcing and facilitation of this method must be determined on a case-by-case basis. For example iwi groups were provided with limited resources for information that assisted in Plan development. Another example is the secondment of personnel from iwi authorities to work within Waikato Regional Council for periods of time. Memoranda of understanding between Council and iwi groups will also implement this method.

Method 2.3.4.13 acknowledges that in order to facilitate consultation between Waikato Regional Council or consent applicants and tangata whenua, Waikato Regional Council will keep and maintain a database of relevant contacts. The absence of this type of information has caused problems in the past (e.g. delays in consent processing, uncertainty as to who is the ‘right’ person/group to consult etc). This information will be available in either electronic or printed forms from Waikato Regional Council through resource consent officers or the Iwi Liaison Officer.

As part of establishing relationships with tangata whenua, it is important that Waikato Regional Council consults with tangata whenua having regard to their tribal protocols where possible. Method 2.3.4.14 recognises that this will improve the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of consultation. Some tribal groups in the Region (including Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Te Ata, Ngati Maniapoto and Huakina Development Trust) have already developed their own consultation protocols.

Many of the functions that Waikato Regional Council undertakes (e.g. consent decisions, policy development and asset management) affect tangata whenua interests. Method 2.3.4.15 acknowledges that Waikato Regional Council has an obligation under s8 of the RMA to ensure that relevant tangata whenua and iwi authorities are appropriately informed and consulted with regard to significant resource management issues.

Marae are the focal point of whanau, hapu and iwi. Method 2.3.4.16 recognises the importance of having marae-based meetings, not only for receiving valuable input from local people for the purpose of resource management, but also for discussing contentious issues. Such meetings would contribute to information gathering, community education, and facilitate tangata whenua having valuable input into the management of resources.

Method 2.3.4.17 recognises the need for the development and maintenance of guidelines that can assist resource users to understand some of the issues of concern to tangata whenua that they may need to take into account when working through RMA statutory processes such as resource consents. Resource users also need to know what the RMA requirements are in relation to consultation and where to ask for assistance with the identification of tangata whenua. Putting tangata whenua contacts in such a publication is not practical as changes will occur over time. However, that information will be maintained within the organisation and made freely available to resource users on request.

When considering plan and policy development, and resource consent applications, Waikato Regional Council has regard to how the proposal will affect other resources users. Method 2.3.4.18 acknowledges that it is appropriate that the customary uses of resources are also taken account of during this process. It is expected that such information would come to light through consultation with tangata whenua.

Over many years, different iwi authorities and tangata whenua groups have conveyed very strongly to Waikato Regional Council that the discharge of human-based sewage to water is offensive to them, irrespective of the level of treatment. Such discharges have significant effects on the mauri (or life-force) of the waters and this in turn seriously affects the mana of the tangata whenua. Maori preference is that human wastes should be passed through the earth. Method 2.3.4.19 recognises that this is a serious concern and will ensure that where consent applications for such discharges arise, alternatives will be rigorously investigated. Where suitable land-based alternatives are shown to be practicable and affordable, they will be encouraged.

Method 2.3.4.20 signals that Waikato Regional Council will, where appropriate, consider the use of hearing commissioners with tikanga Maori expertise for resource consent processes. Waikato Regional Council considers that the complexity of some issues, especially where multiple tangata whenua groups are affected, warrants the appointment of suitably qualified commissioners in some instances. Criteria for the selection of committee members have been determined by Council and include impartiality, conflict of interest, specific expertise and any particular local knowledge.

Method 2.3.4.21 recognises that Waikato Regional Council will consider the use of marae for resource consent hearings. In deciding whether or not such a venue is appropriate Waikato Regional Council will consider the comfort of the parties involved, the impartiality of the venue and participants and the logistics involved.

Method 2.3.4.22 clarifies the process that will be followed when Waikato Regional Council is made aware that an activity is adversely affecting previously unidentified or unknown waahi tapu sites. The process provides for tangata whenua, the Historic Places Trust and the landowner to be consulted before the activity is able to recommence. Wherever possible this process will work in conjunction with similar processes that exist under the Historic Places Act. Once Waikato Regional Council has completed this process, Waikato Regional Council will advise the resource user in writing setting out the basis on which works may recommence.

The practical role of kaitiakitanga can be identified in terms of knowledge, willingness to assist in the identification of key participants within the tribal framework and interpretation of tikanga Maori. These are roles that local authorities cannot assume or undertake on behalf of tangata whenua. Method 2.3.4.23 recognises that early and meaningful consultation is therefore an essential part of understanding and promoting the role that tangata whenua has as Kaitiaki.

While the issue of Maori ownership of resources is not covered by the RMA, it is recognised that, irrespective of ownership, tangata whenua still consider such resources to be taonga in their guardianship. Transferring powers relating to the management of resources to tangata whenua is a management option that would recognise their role as Kaitiaki with respect to those resources. Subject to relevant statutory criteria being satisfied (s33 of the RMA), Method 2.3.4.24 specifies that Waikato Regional Council will consider this as an option in appropriate cases. Memoranda of understanding between iwi groups and Council will identify options for the transfer of powers.

Many iwi authorities and tangata whenua groups have expressed the desire to be more involved in the day to day monitoring and guardianship of resources and resource use. Opportunities for this can arise through the consents process and regional trend monitoring. This might involve the provision of monitoring data, establishment of regular liaison with consent holders, active management in monitoring resource use, or other arrangements as may be agreed. Such involvement is in accordance with tangata whenua’s Kaitiaki role. In Method 2.3.4.25 Waikato Regional Council therefore encourages arrangements of this nature.

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