Liaising with Māori

Local government legislation requires councils to take account of the perspective(s) of Māori on many matters. Initially, councils’ key requirements came from the Resource Management Act 1991.  This Act contains obligations for councils to consult with iwi on resource management matters.  The Local Government Act 2002 contains provisions that are broader in definition and scope.  This Act requires councils to take appropriate account of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) and maintain and improve opportunities for Māori to contribute to local decision-making processes.

The Resource Management Act 1991 places an obligation on the Council to consult with Māori during the planning process.  This obligation is in turn derived from the underlying principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, which in this context, refers to:-

  • Partnership - the development of an active and on-going relationship between Council and local iwi.
  • Participation -a principle which emphasises positive Māori involvement in the business of the Council, and in particular its planning and delivery functions.
  • Protection - the requirement to ensure that Māori well-being is enhanced whenever possible, and that principles of equity towards Māori are observed in the Council’s decision making process.

The Council is committed to engage in active consultation with Māori and to foster positive relationships in pursuance of the partnership envisaged under the Treaty of Waitangi, on matters that affect and concern Māori.

The tangata whenua of this district are independent tribes which each maintain their own mana and tikanga. The Māori Standing Committee (MSC) advocates for and represents the interests of their marae and iwi. The MSC is made up of representatives from Papawai Marae, Kohunui Marae and Hau Ariki Marae, Pae tu Mokai o Tauira (a Featherston incorporated society representing local Māori interests in the district), members from iwi Rangitāne o Wairarapa and Kahungunu ki Wairarapa plus the Mayor and three Councillors. The Council works in partnership with the MSC on all relevant matters.

On issues requiring consultation Council will:

  • provide sufficient information to the MSC so that they can make informed recommendations;
  • provide reasonable time for both the participation of the MSC and the consideration of the advice given; and
  • give genuine consideration of that advice, including a willingness to change if that is the result of the consultation.

To encourage sharing at a formal level, both the MSC and the Council are committed to meeting on a regular basis, to discuss issues of mutual importance, indicate areas of concern and revise procedures as necessary. 

South Wairarapa District Council