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.
Ara Tahi – Iwi/Greater Wellington Regional Council Leadership Forum
Ara Tahi is a leadership forum of the six tangata whenua groups and Greater Wellington Regional Council. Ara Tahi was established in 1991 as a Māori advisory group and now operates as a joint leadership forum between iwi and Greater Wellington Regional Council, providing an opportunity for discussion on key strategic issues for the region.
Ara Tahi was instrumental in the development of the Memorandum of Partnership (PDF 4.9 MB) – an agreement that outlines how tangata whenua and Greater Wellington Regional Council work together. The Memorandum of Partnership is built on and replaces the Charter of Understanding (1993, revised 2000) and establishes a structural and operational relationship between the Council and tangata whenua, in the context of the Treaty of Waitangi and the legislation which gives functions, duties and powers to the Council.
Developing Māori capacity
Greater Wellington Regional Council is developing Māori capacity by:
- Including an iwi appointee to hearing committees where this is appropriate
- Holding technical workshops for iwi and Council staff
- Supporting iwi projects
- Providing iwi capacity funding
- Operating a Māori Relations team (Te Hunga Whiriwhiri) to provide enhanced assistance and advice
- Appointing six persons to Te Upoko Taiao – Natural Resources Plan Committee for their skills, attributes or knowledge relevant to the work of the committee and including their knowledge of the rohe of the relevant iwi authority to which they belong
- Appointing one member each, nominated by Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust and Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira Inc. to the Hutt Valley Flood Management Subcommittee
- Appointing to the Wairarapa Committee, one member each to represent Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa and Rangitāne ō Wairarapa
- Appointing to the whaitua committees, one member from each iwi authority whose rohe falls entirely within the Whaitua boundary to represent the interests of that tangata whenua group
There are also a number of activities to increase the capacity of councillors and staff to appreciate and understand Māori culture and perspectives.
Greater Wellington Regional Council hopes that building capacity through these avenues will enable Māori to contribute to decision-making processes. We continue to work on ways we can build stronger relationships with Māori and meet our new obligations under the Local Government Act 2002.
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