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Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori

This section of the Draft District Plan identifies and manages Napier’s sites and areas of significance to Māori.

Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori

Sites and areas of significance to Māori include places, features or landscapes associated with a pre-European historical event, notable persons, settlement, use, or cultural narratives. Presence of these sites and areas are often well-documented and the stories and history associated with them passed down generation to generation. Our Maori heritage is important as it helps us gain an understanding of New Zealand’s past and how it defines our identity.

The existing District Plan already identifies and protects a number of sites of significance to Māori. Since the current District Plan was made operative however, mana whenua have raised a number of concerns around sites that are not currently identified, the extent of some of the identified areas, and the management approach. The District Plan Review presents an opportunity to assess which sites and areas are identified, and the management approach to be applied to ensure the cultural values associated with them are protected when development occurs.

 Background

  • The Resource Management Act identifies the relationship of Māori and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, sites, waahi tapu, and other taonga as a matter of national importance. This requires Councils to identify and appropriately manage them.
  • The current District Plan protects some sites and areas of significance to Māori, but does not include additional sites and areas identified in more recent documentation.
  • Management approaches for protecting sites of significance have evolved in the past 20 years and this is an opportunity to reconsider the approach taken in the current District Plan.

Preliminary Draft District Plan Response

  • We have completed a literature review of all documentation that identifies sites and areas of significance to Māori, including recent Treaty of Waitangi settlement documentation.
  • Engagement with mana whenua has also informed the identification of sites, their extent, narrative, degree of importance, and desired management approach.
  • We are currently exploring a number of options for the management of these sites. It is likely that some sites will have a higher level of protection than others.
  • For sites with a high level of protection, activities that may require resource consent include any land disturbance, subdivision, erection of structures, plantation of forestry, and maintenance of network utility structures. This is a similar approach to that applied in the current District Plan.
  • For sites with a lesser level of importance, activities that may require resource consent may include land disturbance over a certain threshold, larger buildings, plantation forestry, and subdivision.
  • Sites that have been identified but have largely been modified or destroyed will likely have a lesser level of protection or no specifics rules that trigger resource consent.
  • Should any form of development require resource consent because of it being located within a site or area of significance to Maori, affected party approval from mana whenua would be required. This is so that any potential impacts on cultural values can be considered through the resource consent process.  

A site or area may be significant because it is either associated with a pre-European historical event, notable person, settlement, use, or cultural narrative.

Presence of these sites and areas are often well-documented and the stories and history associated with them passed down generation to generation.

The Resource Management Act requires Council to identify and protect sites and areas of significance to Māori as a matter of national importance.

Activities such as erecting structures and land disturbance can destroy evidence of an event or use (such as koiwi or skeletons, terraces, pits, and midden), as well as making it more difficult to make a connection to the past due to changing landforms and development patterns. Some activities may also be culturally inappropriate due to a past event at the site or the cultural narrative associated with it. It is important that the cultural impact of an activity is able to be assessed. This is done through engagement with mana whenua as part of obtaining resource consent for development that may adversely affect a site.

We would like to hear from you if you believe the information provided to you about your property is inaccurate, or if you do not agree with restrictions being placed on your property to protect the site.

It is very early in the development of the Draft District Plan, and there is plenty of opportunity to raise concerns with mana whenua, and to ensure we have the right management approach that enables reasonable use of properties while protecting the key cultural values associated with identified sites or areas of significance.

If you own a property that is already identified as being within a site of significance to Māori, then there are already restrictions on how you can use and development your property. This review will consider whether the current approach is appropriate moving forward. If you own a property that is located within a newly identified site or area of significance to Māori, the level of protection will likely depend on its level of significance.

For sites with a high level of protection, activities that may require resource consent include any land disturbance, subdivision, erection of structures, plantation of forestry, and maintenance of network utility structures. This is a similar approach to that applied in the current District Plan.

For sites with a lesser level of importance, activities that may require resource consent may include land disturbance over a certain threshold, larger buildings, plantation forestry, and subdivision.

Sites that have been identified but have largely been modified or destroyed will likely have a lesser level of protection or no specifics rules that trigger resource consent.

 

We are exploring options for management with mana whenua and will be able to provide more information in due course.  

We are working with property owners and mana whenua to refine the extent and location of sites of significance to Maori, and create a planning framework that provides protection to those aspects of the site that hold cultural values.

Council will be releasing a draft District Plan in November 2020 that will contain a chapter on Sites of Significance to Maori.   The contents of this chapter will be formulated following feedback received from this pre engagement consultation. 

We welcome your comments on the information being provided to you.

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