There are many ways and opportunities for Tangata Whenua to be involved in environmental management in Northland, such as:
· Benefit of understanding the Maori world view – tangata whenua have a long-standing association with the natural environment. Understanding these cultural values and interests can result in improved projects and resource consent applications (MFE 2006).
· Benefit of having a relationship with tangata whenua – If a community or school is initiating a project in its local community, then it should consider building a relationship with local tangata whenua and involving them in the proposal. This can add value and depth to the project as well as gaining wider support and participation (MFE 2006).
· Only in New Zealand – Enhance proposals through the participation of tangata whenua in the resource consents process where kaitiakitanga and other Maori concepts, that are unique to New Zealand can be fostered (MFE 2006).
· Who do I talk to – Often in communities people may know the local kaumatua (elder) who may be able to assist with whom to talk to. Speciality Maori teachers in local schools may be able to offer advice and guidance. Otherwise local iwi authorities can be contacted via the Te Kahui Mangai website http://www.tkm.govt.nz/ or contact your local Council.
· Environmental management plans – Many Iwi and hapu groups have compiled environmental management plans which clearly show issues of concern to Maori in regards to the natural environment. These are a wealth of information ,which can help with the foundations of relationship. For more information refer to the following link on the Council website:
· Already involved in an iwi group – Already involved in an iwi group but want to know more about the Council's functions and activities, contact the Iwi Liaison Officer. There are many ways that people can be more involved such as attending a workshop on Council processes, being included in the Purongo Putaiao (Council panui) circulation list or applying to the Joint Iwi Monitoring and Environmental Management Plan Funds.