The council is committed to working with Māori and has recognised it as one of our four key areas of focus for the coming years:
"Develop meaningful and inclusive relationships with iwi and tangata whenua within Te rohe o Te Tai Tokerau".
We are working with Māori in a number of ways to help us develop more meaningful relationships and develop Māori capacity to participate in our decision making processes.
Te Tai Tokerau Māori and Council Working Party
The Te Tai Tokerau Māori Advisory Committee was established in 2014. Membership of this standing committee consists of 26 hapu / iwi representatives and four regional councillors.
As part of its implementation of the National Policy Statement Freshwater, council has set up a number of catchment groups to address the new policy direction. Each of these groups are sub-committees of council and include Māori representatives.
Of the priority rivers identified for flood risk planning, council has set up seven river liaison committees under the Priority Rivers work programme. These are sub-committees of council's Environmental Management Committee and each one has provision for Māori representation.
There are also iwi/ Māori representatives appointed to various working parties for planning documents, as and when required.
Our aim is to establish and maintain a close connection with Māori and work together to identify clear processes for consultation and involvement in decision-making.
We recognise that Māori are a culturally distinct group in Northland with different perspectives from the wider community.
We are committed to developing:
- Our relationship and engagement with Māori
- A solid platform for decision making
- Meaningful and inclusive engagement
- Services and activities that foster the ability and capacity of Maori to contribute to decision making, and
- Better outcomes for Māori and Northland
Getting involved in the consent process
The Resource Management Act (section 36A) does not require an applicant or a local authority to consult any person (including iwi) about an application for resource consent, unless they are required under other legislation to do so, but it also allows an applicant or a local authority to consult any person if it wishes to do so.
Council's procedure is to send copies of all applications, other than bore installation permits, to marae and iwi where they've registered their interest in applications for resource consent in their rohe/area of interest. This gives marae and iwi an opportunity to raise any specific relationship, cultural and traditional concerns they may have with the application for council to consider as part of processing the consent application.
The council encourages applicants to consult with local marae and iwi prior to lodging applications, to determine whether there are any cultural concerns that need to be addressed as part of the application.
Other legislation that requires consultation
Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011
A record of consultation with the relevant iwi is required as part of any application for resource consent in areas where customary title exists, or has been applied for, under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011. Council cannot accept an application for resource consent in these areas unless this record of consultation is provided with the application. For more information please contact the Northland Regional Council or Office of Treaty Settlements.
Māori wards and constituencies
The Local Electoral Act 2001 gives council the ability to establish separate wards for Māori electors. The council may resolve to create separate Māori wards or conduct a poll on the matter, or the community may demand a poll. The demand for a poll can be initiated by a petition signed by 5% of electors within the region.
The council last considered whether or not to have separate Māori wards in 2017. On 24 October 2017, the council resolved not to introduce Māori representation. This decision was publicly notified and no demand for a poll on this issue was received.
This decision applies to the 2019 and 2022 Local Government elections. Council will reconsider whether it wants to establish Māori wards for the 2025 and 2028 elections during 2023.