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Resource Management: Partnership with Iwi Governance

Recent developments in Taupō have shown how governance functions might be shared between the Crown and Māori governance entities under the provisions of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). Section 33 of the RMA provides that a local authority may transfer one or more of its RMA functions to other public authorities, including iwi authorities, and it is under this section that the Waikato Regional Council and Ngāti Tūwharetoa are working together.

The Ngāti Tūwharetoa rohe extends across the central plateau of the North Island to the lands around Mount Tongariro and Lake Taupō. Waikato Regional Council has agreed to transfer some of its functions to the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board (the Board), which will take effect in September 2020. The Board will be responsible for assessment of water quality in Lake Taupō and its feeding rivers, and will monitor groundwater and rainfall activity across a variety of Lake sites. The move towards this role has been gradual, as the Board has carried out some of this monitoring in the last two years.

The Board is hopeful that this role will open doors for employment to local people in the environmental and scientific fields.

The Waikato Regional Council will still play a role in the wellbeing of Lake Taupō. For instance, the Council will continue to fund the monitoring of the water quality of the Lake, with details of that monitoring still being available to the public via the Council.

This recognises and formalises the longstanding role of Ngāti Tūwharetoa as the kaitiaki of the whenua and waters of Lake Taupō. Further, this relationship sets a precedent for the ways that Crown entities can share stewardship of the land with Māori governance bodies and in continuing discussions as to what indigenous governance can look like.

For more information, please see the media statement released by the Board. 

Tim is a Solicitor in our Property Team and can be contacted on 07 958 7459.


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