Partnership with iwi
Environment Southland acknowledges the importance of tikanga Māori and values its relationship with both Ngāi Tahu (through the four Southland papatipu rūnanga) and ngā matawaka (other Māori who are not Ngāi Tahu) living within Murihiku/Southland.
We continue to develop our relationships with rūnanga in Southland through Te Ao Mārama Inc (the Iwi liaison entity representing Southland three rūnanga for resource management and local government issues) and with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, the iwi authority.
Charter of Understanding
To help promote and develop its relationship with Māori, Environment Southland together with six other local authorities in Southland/Otago, signed with Te Ao Marama Inc the Charter of Understanding He Huarahi mō Ngā Uri Whakatapu - A Pathway for the Generations Coming Through.
The revised Charter was re-signed by all the parties at Hokonui rūnanga marae on 7 March 2016. The Charter of Understanding provides:
- the basis for an ongoing relationship between the seven councils and the tangata whenua of Murihiku to assist in developing the capacity of Māori to contribute to decision-making processes;
- a foundation for consultation on a wide range of local government issues;
- for the recognition and willingness of Te Ao Marama Inc to assist all councils in consultation with all ngā matawaka (other Māori who are not Ngāi Tahu) living in Murihiku. This is important in terms of Māori contribution to decision making in the Southland region, particularly as the responsibilities of the Council under the Local Government Act in relation to Māori are with all Māori, not solely the local iwi.
The Charter is based on a co-management model, and is unique in the South Island. It sets out the basis and conduct of the councils and rūnanga in the context of the Local Government Act 2002 and Resource Management Act 1991, and provides the basis for Māori to contribute to the decision-making process via Te Roopu Taiao.
Te Roopu Taiao
Te Roopu Taiao is a joint management committee established in the 1990s to develop relationships between the local authorities, tangata whenua of Murihiku and includes nga matawaka (other Māori who are not Ngāi Tahu). The committee primarily deals with higher level decision making concerning environmental resource management within local government. The group, which meets four times a year, is made up of representatives from councils in Southland and Otago and the four papatipu rūnanga in Murihiku.
Iwi Management Plan - Te Tangi a Tauira
The Plan provides a living, working document that assists Ngāi Tahu ki Murihiku to effectively participate in natural resource management and environmental policy and planning. It enables council to ensure iwi issues and policies are provided for in planning documents and determines the nature and extent of consultation required, with respect to specific activities or areas of importance.
Te Ao Mārama Incorporated
Te Ao Mārama Incorporated looks after mana whenua interests in resource management and other aspects related to local government in Southland. It is authorised to represent three Ngāi Tahu papatipu runanga in Murihiku/Southland. It is involved in the protection of the spiritual and cultural values of the region, including wahi tapu (sacred places), mahinga kai (gathering of food and resources) and other natural resources.
Fostering Māori capacity
There are a number of initiatives underway that aim to foster Māori capacity to contribute to decision-making processes:
- approval has been granted to appoint two mana whenua representatives onto two of Environment Southland's standing committees – Strategy and Policy Committee and Regional Services Committee.
- we continue to hold regular liaison meetings between Te Ao Marama Inc managers and Council executive, and have regular contact at staff level
- Māori representatives are invited to attend Council hui (meetings) and wānanga (workshops) to become familiar with Council kawa (protocol)
- Te Ao Marama Inc are a partner the People, Water and Land Programme; and the Whakamana te Waituna project
- there are dedicated positions for tangata whenua on the Southland Freshwater Forum
- Te Tangi a Tauira, the Ngāi Tahu Murihiku Resource Management Plan is referred to and reported against when assessing resource consent applications
- we have maintained our commitment to ongoing funding of Te Ao Marama Inc, with Environment Southland acting as the central financial manager for all the Councils’ contributions and distribution of funds to Te Ao Marama Inc
- we continued the 50/50 shared arrangement to fund an iwi policy officer within Te Ao Marama Inc to assist with the development of the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan, and to participate in the People, Water and Land Programme
- we continued to tiamana (chair) Te Roopu Taiao hui (meetings)