Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Increasing Maori involvement in local government

Landcare Research has led the development of a framework and suite of tools and approaches to increase Māori involvement in local government.

Guided by the framework, Auckland Council and iwi/hāpu planners have worked together to integrate mātauranga Māori into the draft Auckland Unitary Plan.

The researchers realised that a range of issues needed to be addressed to increase Māori participation in local government. These included low participation of Māori in urban planning, poor articulation of Māori values, local government’s poor understanding of Māori aspirations, and little incorporation of mātauranga Māori in urban planning contexts.

Researchers undertook an extensive literature review, hui/workshops, and comprehensive case-study research.

Together with key stakeholders they developed a suite of clearly understood and easily applied resources (collectively called pātaka or kete) that could help planners, iwi/hapū and other groups actively apply mātauranga Māori within urban planning and policy. This was achieved through four wānanga, hui with council staff, iwi and hapū resource managers, and written reports.

High-level Māori values and principles such as kaitiakitanga and mauri have been applied to the draft Auckland Unitary Plan through policies and objectives.

We are continuing to support and develop Māori research capability within local government.

For example, Ngāi Tahu is a statutory partner with CERA (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority) in planning the redevelopment of Christchurch. Craig Pauling (formerly of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu) was seconded as a Senior Advisor - Strategy and Planning to CERA. We are working with Craig to promote the uptake of Māori driven design within CERA by providing the authority with access to our framework, approach and capability for mātauranga Māori based planning.

While we were contracted to develop a framework to facilitate the application of mātauranga Maori into urban planning, we have made considerable progress towards achieving our medium-term vision that by 2014 urban planners were using our framework and tools.