WAI 262 Flora and Fauna Report (2011)

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Mātauranga Māori

The WAI 262 claim is about Mātauranga Māori - That is the unique Māori way of viewing the world encompassing both traditional knowledge and culture. The claimants, in other words, are seeking to preserve their culture and identity and the relationship that culture and identity derive from. Kaitiakitanga is derived from Mātauranga Māori, meaning the guardianship of the land and it's people <ref> Waitangi Tribunal (2011a) Online: Waitangi Tribunal: About the Reports, http://www.waitangi-tribunal.govt.nz/reports/summary.asp?reportid=BF981901-5B55-441C-A93E-8E84B67B76E9 (accessed 30th September, 2011). </ref>.

Māori Obligations as Kaitiaki

Iwi and hapū are obliged to act as kaitiaki (cultural guardians) towards taonga (treasured things) in the environment such as land, natural features, waterways, wāhi tapu, pā sites, and flora and fauna within their tribal areas. Current laws and policies do not support those kaitiaki relationships to the degree required by the Treaty. Reform will not only strengthen Māori culture and identity; by harnessing Māori knowledge and values it will also strengthen and add greater depth to environmental decision-making <ref> Waitangi Tribunal (2011b) Online: Ko Aotearoa Tēnei – Factsheet 4: Resource Management, http://www.waitangi-tribunal.govt.nz/doclibrary/public/reports/generic/Wai0262/Wai262Factsheet4ResourceManagement.pdf (accessed 28th September, 2011). </ref>.

Technical Aspects

The WAI 262 report looks into claims concerning New Zealand Law and Policy affecting Māori Culture and Identity. As a large report it is uncommon for many people to have analysed the whole document. Comprising over 1000 detailed pages, with a summary alone that consists of 300 words, it is one of the larger Tribunal claims. The layout itself is in PDF form with colour photos and graphs included throughout the text. The body of text is set out in two main columns, and endnotes are used throughout the report in written descriptions. Being such a large and detailed document it is not very accessible for academics, nor for members of the public.

Wai 262 is about acknowledging the retention of identity for the people and the land and the need to hold onto what makes New Zealand what it is. The WAI 262 report needs to be demystified for people who get caught up in the technicalities of the report and are therefore put off reading the document.

World View

Figure 1: Harakeke (flax) which is considered taonga raranga to Māori.

To understand the WAI 262 report and the recommendations of the tribunal in regards to this report, a context of the Māori world view is crucial. Māori, view the world as something that they are part of, rather than apart from. Their belief system stems from the idea that the earth, personified as their Mother Papatūānuku, must be respected and managed. Everything Papatūānuku hosts needs guardianship or kaitiaki by the people for the next generation. This includes her children the winds, forests, sea etc. Social Institutions, relationships as well as pysicial and spiritual interactions are viewed differently to Pākehā <ref> Ka’ai, T.M., Moorfield. J. C., Reilly, M. P., & Mosley, S (eds) (2003) Ki te Whaiao; An Introduction to Māori Culture and Society, Pearson Education, Auckland. </ref>. Māori have different concepts of time, geographical locations, resources, including management and ownership.

Modern New Zealand culture is confronted with an overabundance of environmental issues that relate to resource management. As a country with two different cultural frames of reference there is conflicting ideas about the economic, ethical, pragmatic and theological value that resources and the environment hold. This is problematic as the current resource management system has deficiencies <ref> Marsden, M. (2003), ‘God, Man, and Universe’, In Royal, C.(ed), The Woven Universe: eleced Writings of Rev. Māori Marsden, Masterton: The Estate of Rev. Māori Marsden, pp. 2-23. </ref>. Adopting Māori and their frame of reference adequately into resource management policies and decisions would be a way to promote better environmental management.


The legal system in New Zealand is built on writings in comparison with the Māori legal system that is built on whakapapa and oral stories. The Māori are an oral people and their concerns come from backing history, to understand their world view today we need to look back at history and context. There is a different concept of time in indigenous cultures and arguements and non-confrontational making it difficult to address issues between the Crown and Māori due to differing world views.

Waitangi Tribunal History


The Waitangi Tribunal is a permanent commission of enquiry established in 1975 by the Treaty of Waitangi Act, at a time where protests about unsolved Treaty grievances were growing. It was established to consider and make recommendations on claims brought by Māori about Crown actions or omissions that breach the promises made by the Treaty of Waitangi. The Waitangi Tribunal inquiry process contributes to the resolution of Treaty claims and hence to the reconciliation of outstanding issues between Māori and Pākehā.

Figure 2: Te Tiriti O Waitangi. <ref> Victoria University of Wellington (2008) Online: The Treaty of Waitangi, an explanation; Te Tiriti o Waitangi, he whakamarama. http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/NgaTrea-fig-NgaTreaFCo.html (accessed 3rd October, 2011). </ref>


The role of the Tribunal, set out in section 5 of the Treaty of Waitangi Act, includes inquiring into and making recommendations upon any claim properly submitted to the Tribunal; examining and reporting on any proposed legislation referred to the Tribunal by the House of Representatives or a Minister of the Crown; and making recommendations or determinations in respect of certain Crown forest land, railways land, State-owned enterprise land, and land transferred to educational institutions.

The Tribunal comprises up to 20 members who are appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Minister of Māori Affairs. Approximately half the members are Māori and half are Pākehā. Generally, the Tribunal has authority only to make recommendations, of which do not have binding powers over the Crown, the claimants, or any others participating in its inquiries. The overall vision of the Tribunal is that Maori and non-Māori New Zealander’s will be equipped to create a future for two peoples as one nation.

Waitangi Tribunal and WAI 262

WAI 262 is the 262nd claim registered with the Waitangi Tribunal. The inquiry into this report is one of the most complex and far-reaching in the Tribunal’s history. It is the Tribunal’s first whole-of-government inquiry, as well as the first inquiry to specifically address the Treaty relationship beyond the settlement of historical grievances. It was lodged on 9 October 1991 by six claimants on behalf of themselves and their iwi: Haana Murray (Ngāti Kurī), Hema Nui a Tawhaki Witana (Te Rarawa), Te Witi McMath (Ngāti Wai), Tama Poata (Ngāti Porou), Kataraina Rimene (Ngāti Kahungunu), and John Hippolite (Ngāti Koata).

Ngāti Wai Case Study


Ngātiwai descend from Manaia (the rangatira of Māhuhu-ki-te-rangi or Ruakaramea waka) and his offspring of Ngāti Manaia and Tāhuhunuiorangi. Ngātiwai iwi possess one of the oldest whakapapa lineages of tribes in Te Tai-tokerau<ref> Ngātiwai Trust Board (2011) Online: Ngātiwai Trust Board: About us, http://www.ngatiwai.iwi.nz/node/1 (accessed 30th September, 2011). </ref>. Today most of the tribe live in Whangārei but some are dispersed through the rest of New Zealand. Ngāti Wai rohe extends from Tapeka Point to Pakiri.

Māori Participation under the RMA

The Resource Management Act (RMA) provides a number of provisions that provide for Māori participation in resource management.

    • 1. Providing for Māori Participation in resource management (sections 6(e), 7(a) and 8).
    • 2. Requirement of local authorities to consult or inform iwi or Tangata Whenua.

Ngātiwai iwi memebers consider the Treaty of Waitangi to be central to the relationship with local government and that the Council’s understanding of ‘partnership’ is well removed from their own. They consider that iwi and hapū never surrendered tino rangatiratanga over their natural resource base and according to some iwi members, the Council does not acknowledge the iwi understanding of the treaty. There is scepticism amongst iwi about the Resource Management Act (RMA), which they consider is not working for Māori. Iwi cannot effectively exercise Kaitiakitanga through RMA processes and protect resources that are considered to be theirs. The perspective of the far north district council acknowledges difficulties in the relationship between iwi and the council. The principals of the Treaty, are considered of primary significance for the conduct of relationships, include; partnership or mutually beneficial relationships; shared decision making; and active protection<ref>McClean, R, and, Smith, T. (2001). The Crown and Flora and Fauna: Legislation, Policies, and Practices, 1938-98 Waitangi Tribunal publication.</ref>.

Matua Hori Parata

Matua Hori Parata is a member of the Ngātiwai Trust Board as an active part of the Resource management Unit. An interview was conducted with Hori and he believes there is a range of recommendations that require law change and these law changes would then facilitate some of the recommendations of the WAI 262 report and force the government off their hands into actually using them. He believes that the WAI 262 Flora and Fauna Report is a positive step forward for Māori in environmental management but the attitudes of people need to change from the strong racist mentality that they hold. WAI 262 is about Indigenous Flora and Fauna and Māori individual property rights. There has been significant prejudice from Pākehā creating this 'ractist mentality'. WAI 262 is viewed by Ngāti Wai as a positive opportunity for Maori to state their views to Pakeha on environmental management issues <ref>WAI 262 (2011) Online: Hori Parata - Ngati Wai. http://wai262.weebly.com/hori-parata.html (accessed 3rd October, 2011). </ref>. A series of short videos can be viewed at http://wai262.weebly.com/hori-parata.html in regard to Hori Parata's involvement in Ngāti Wai and the WAI 262 report.

Ngātiwai involvement with the WAI 262 claim

The Ngātiwai Trust Board has been involved with developing kaupapa, policies relating to environmental management. Matua Hori Parata was a part of a Department of Conservation (DOC) research conducted on Tuataras. The research conducted on Tuataras in Tauranga was for DNA extraction of Tuataras by clipping off a bit of each Tuataras foot. Hori was offended by the actions of DOC because it violated Tangata Whenua and he reported back to the Trust Board about this work that was being executed. The WAI 262 claim was still fresh in the minds of the board which is how Ngātiwai became involved with the WAI 262 claim.

Kaitiakitanga vs Ownership

“We are all descended from Papatūānuku; she is our Kaitiaki and we in return are hers.”

Kaitiaki is a word derived from the verb “tiaki” – to guard, to protect, to keep, to watch for, to wait for. With the prefix “kai” denoting the doer of the action. Hence a “Kaitiaki” can be translated as a guardian, and kaitiakitanga the act of guardianship. <ref> Marsden, Rev. M. (1992). Kaitiakitanga. A definitive introduction to the holistic world view of the Maori. </ref>.

Ownership, however, is a western concept that was introduced to New Zealand through the arrival of the British and the subsequent colonisation of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Ownership reflects this common law principle that something is owned by somebody through a process purchase or through treaty. Once a person owns a piece of land, that land is under the sole control of the owner or owners. This is where the conflict in epistemologies arises. Māori take on a belief that they do not own the land and that there is no ‘legal’ ownership of land. Land is fluid, it changes and it moves, land is won and loss through battle or agreement, however, they in no sense own that land. Māori see themselves at the kaitiaki of the whenua, they live and function to an ancestral code which is directly concerned with the care and protection of mauri, which according to the traditions of tangata whenua, is the dynamic life principle that underpins all biodiversity. Māori take the view that the land is to be cherished and taken care of not for themselves but for the people who come after. Māori do not see land within a monetary sense, money to them last merely one minute, however, the land, well that will last forever.

Kaitiakitanga is already acknowledged in legislation and is defined as follows:

“…the exercise of guardianship by the tangata whenua of an area in accordance with tikanga Māori in relation to natural and physical resources, and includes the ethic of stewardship (s.2. NZ RMA 1991)<ref> Resource Management Act (1991) http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1991/0069/latest/DLM230265.html </ref>; and

“…the exercise of guardianship; and in relation to any fisheries resources, includes the ethic of stewardship based on the nature of the resources, as exercised by the appropriate tangata whenua in accordance with tikanga Māori” (s2, NZ Fisheries Act 1992)<ref> New Zealand Fisheries Act (1992) http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1996/0088/latest/DLM394192.html </ref>

There is, however, concern that current legislative definitions do not fully express what kaitiakitanga is about and that any attempt to define it in anything other than Te Reo Māori will always be insufficient. This relates to this conflict of world views in between Māori and non Māori.

Chapter Summaries of the WAI 262 Report

Chapter 1: Taonga Works and Intellectual Property

Taonga works are the physical or intellectual products of mātauranga Māori, made possible through the medium of human industry and creativity. Each taonga work has a kaitiaki, who has an obligation to safeguard the taonga and the matauranga that underlies it. The tribunal finds that current Intellectual Property law protects this kaitiaki interest only to a very limited extent, when things meet very specific criteria. Upon examining the international context, they found that New Zealand is not constrained by international law to protect the kaitiaki interest. Internationally, attempts to reconcile cultural interests with IP rights are increasingly seen as best business practice in the commercial sector.

Chapter 2: Genetic and Biological Resources of Taonga Species

This chapter discusses New Zealand law surrounding bioprospecting, genetic engineering and intellectual property. Maori are concerned about these activities in relation to taonga species, and wish to maintain the relationship of kaitiaki with the mātauranga Māori and the relevant species or biological resource. The tribunal finds that New Zealand’s laws and policies affecting bioprospecting raise important issues that are still to be confronted, and are often inconsistent. Patents and Plant Variety Rights (PVRs) were designed to allow exploitation, and as such they do not accommodate mātauranga Māori or respond to kaitiaki. For example, they are granted to the party who first expresses knowledge in Western scientific terms. The tribunal finds that the law must provide more protection than it does.

Chapter 3: Relationship with the Environment

‘Kei raro i ngā tarutaru, ko ngā tuhinga a ngā tūpuna’ (beneath the herbs and plants are the writings of the ancestors).

The environment in mātauranga Māori is the atua (gods) themselves. Maori relationships with taonga in the environment are explained by kinship, or whanaungatanga. As descendents of the environment, Maori do not own it, but are recipients and stewards of it. Their contribution is to enhance the life support systems of Papatūānuku, and the recognize her place in their whakapapa.

The Tribunal finds that the arrangements that have been achieved through Treaty settlement and customary rights negotiations show that it is possible for the Crown and its delegates to find ways of sharing and delegating environmental management powers with kaitiaki. However they do not believe that it is happening as it should be.

Chapter 4: Taonga and the Conservation Estate

This chapter discusses the desire of Māori for more capacity to exercise kaitiaki rights and obligations over taonga in the conservation estate. The taonga in respect of which kaitiaki rights and obligations apply include indigenous flora and fauna and the ecosystems and habitats that support them; geographic features such as forests, lakes, rivers, mountains, and offshore islands; sites such as pā and wāhi tapu; and the mātauranga and tikanga associated with those parts of the environment. They argue that the exercise of kaitiaki relationships is essential to the preservation of mātauranga Māori, and that it is their right, guaranteed by the ‘tino rangatiratanga’ promise in article 2 of the Treaty. They wish to have involvement in conservation decision-making; access to flora and fauna for traditional practices such as weaving, carving, and ceremonies – known as customary use; and they wish to have involvement in decision-making about commercial opportunities in the conservation estate.

Chapter 5: Te Reo Māori

Te Reo Māori is highly relevant to this claim. This is because te reo Māori is the basis of Māori culture and identity. Te reo Māori is crucial in understanding Maturanga Māori and the Māori world view. There are also Māori concepts written in Te Reo Māori within the RMA 1991, such as kaitiakitanga and wāhi tapu, thus true consideration of the language is crucial for sufficient partnered resource management.

Chapter 6: When the Crown controls Mātauranga Māori

This chapter concern mātauranga Māori, this is Māori knowledge which regards to, technology, laws, history, art, education etc. Mātauranga Māori encompasses all that is vital to Māori culture and identity. Key concepts involve the caring for both land and people, or whanuangatanga and kaitiakitanga. The management of resources is a large part of Mātauranga people, and the Māori concept of kaitiaki needs to be implemented by iwi and hapu themselves rather than the Crown.

Chapter 7: Rongoā Traditional Māori Healing

This chapter regards to Māori knowledge of natural medicinal plants. This is crucial to incorporating Māori into the health system. The knowledge Māori have of healing and plant properties is rich and also encompasses spiritual aspects different from how New Zealand currently views medicine. In turn this relates to the land, and understanding and managing the flora and fauna in the environment.

Chapter 8: The Making of International Instruments

The crown currently fails to incorporate Māori equally into international debates and entities, even though many of the decisions affect Māori culture and identity. These decisions often involve control or protection of New Zealand’s resources. Recommendations in this chapter suggest Māori to have more equal involvement with international bodies, to help implement decisions that exercise Kaitiakitanga properly.

WAI 262 Recommendations

The Tribunal has made recommendations to the Crown in each chapter of WAI 262, which include:

Chapter 1: Intellectual Property and Taonga Works

The Tribunal recommend the Crown establish a system that allows anyone to object to derogatory or offensive public uses of taonga works, taonga-derived works and related knowledge. The system should also allow kaitiaki to object to commercial uses or proposed commercial use of taonga works and related knowledge that do not have their consent. They recommend the establishment of a commission to consider and make decisions about these objections and to provide information and guidance to those (such as artists and designers) who may wish to use or draw taonga works, taonga-derived works and related traditional knowledge. The commission will also maintain a register of specific cultural works such as haka and mōteatea so that the kaitiaki of those works can be identified.

Chapter: 2 Genetic and Biological Resources of Taonga Species

The Tribunal has recommended amendments to the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act so that greater weight is given to kaitiaki interests when decisions are made about genetically modified organisms. They recommend changes to laws and processes relating to patents and plant variety rights. These include the establishment of a Māori advisory committee to advise the Commissioners of Patents and Plant Variety Rights about whether inventions are derived from Māori traditional knowledge or use taonga species; establishment of a register of kaitiaki interests in taonga species; granting the Commissioner of Patents the power to refuse patents that unduly interfere with the relationships between kaitiaki and taonga; and introducing a legal requirement for patent applicants to disclose any Māori traditional knowledge used in research, and the source and country of origin of any genetic or biological material contributing to the intervention. They have also recommended that decisions about bioprospecting (the search, extraction and examination of biological material or its molecular, biochemical, or genetic content to determine its potential to yield a commercial product) in areas under DOC control be made jointly by the department and tangata whenua.

Chapter 3: Resource Management

The Tribunal recommends the development of a system allowing kaitiaki priorities for the environment to be integrated into local authority decision-making. The system should be built around enhanced 'iwi resource management plans’ setting out iwi policies and priorities for managing the environment within their tribal areas. These plans should be negotiated with local authorities and then once finalised should bind local authority decision-making, just as regional policy statements, regional plans and district plans do. They also recommended changes to existing RMA provisions to remove unnecessary obstacles to the delegation of decision-making powers to, and establishment of partnerships with, iwi; and the greater use of national policy statement to guide local authorities over the involvement of Māori in decision-making.

Chapter 4: Conservation

The Tribunal has recommended the establishment of new national and regional partnership structures to give Māori an equal voice with the New Zealand Conservation boards in setting conservation objectives and priorities. This partnership should require decisions to be made case by case about the management of individual taonga, by balancing kaitiaki interests alongside other interests. They also recommended amendments to the Wildlife Act to provide that management of protected wildlife be shared between the Crown and Maori, and that no-one ‘owns’ protected wildlife (currently, the Crown owns protected wildlife). They found that DOC should develop policies for consultation with tangata whenua when the department is awarding concessions and commercial contracts in the conservation estate; and tangata whenua interests in taonga are entitled to a reasonable degree of preference when DOC awards those concessions and contracts.

Chapter 5: Te Reo Māori

The Tribunal has recommended reforms, centred around an expanded role and powers for Te Taura Whiri, which should take the lead role in the Crown’s responsibility for Māori language revival. Its board should have equal representation from the Crown and Māori so it can function as a partnership. Te Taura Whiri should have powers to require public sector agencies to produce Māori language plans and to improve those plans. Regional public sector organisations should consult iwi when preparing their language plans. It should also have powers to set targets for the training of Te Reo teaches, approve education curricula for Te Reo and hold public sector agencies accountable for their responsibilities towards the language.

Chapter 6: When the Crown Controls Mātauranga Māori

The Tribunal’s core recommendation is for the establishment of viable partnerships to support matauranga maori. New forms of partnerships should be established for the education, science and culture and heritage sectors. They should provide for shared decision-making about objectives for matauranga maori and, wherever possible, shared action. They should ensure that appropriate priority is accorded to matauranga maori when balanced alongside other Crown priorities and that Crown agencies act in a coordinated fashion in developing matauranga policies.

Chapter 7: Rongoā (Traditional Māori Healing)

The Tribunal recommends that the Crown make urgent changes, including recognising that rongoā has significant potential as a weapon in the fight to improve Māori health; identifying and implementing ways to encourage the health system to expand rongoā services (for example by requiring primary healthcare organisations servicing the Māori population); adequately supporting the national rongoā organisation Te Paepae Matua; and gathering data about the extent of current Māori use of rongoā services and likely ongoing demand. The Tribunal also recommends that the Ministry of Health and DOC coordinate rongoa policy, to ensure that rongoā plants survive and that tohunga can access them.

Chapter 8: The Making of International Instruments

The Tribunal recommends reforms including the Crown amend the Strategy for Engagement with Māori on International Treaties to require engagement over both binding and non-binding instruments, and to provide for engagement beyond consultation, where appropriate, to the nature and strength of the Māori interest. They recommend that the Crown identify relevant Māori bodies which could serve as partnership forums for discussion about international instruments, and create partnership bodies where they do not exist. Also that the Crown adopt a policy, following negotiation with Māori interests, for funding independent Māori engagement in international forums. Finally, that the Crown put in place accountability mechanisms, including regular reporting about Crown actions relating to international instruments to iwi and Māori organisations, and to Parliament’s Māori Affairs Select Committee; and that the National Instruments Analysis carried out when Parliament considers international instruments includes consideration of any effect on Treaty rights and interests.

Regional Council Perspectives

The majority of Regional Councils in New Zealand are waiting for central government to take the lead in deciding what action to take given the Tribunal’s Recommendations.

All of the regional councils were approached, asking how they intend to integrate the recommendations of this report into their resource management policies. This table summarizes our results. Many councils were unsure what WAI 262 entails, or who to pass this request onto. Some gave vague responses about how the council already works with iwi on matters of interest to Māori. Some pointed out that most of the recommendations are in fact addressed to the Crown, so they do not feel they can act until a decision has been made by central government.

Table 1: Table showing the responses of Regional Councils in regard to implementing the WAI 262 recommendations.

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“Through the RMA this could be one of the mechanisms of protection” – Gisborne District Council

“The council is developing its position on its relationship with Maori and this will continue to evolve” – Northland Regional Council

“The report is for the Crown to consider and respond to in the first instance” – Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council

“Staff have read and noted the WAI 262 report, especially Chapter 3… We have an Iwi Working Group (with representatives from each of the 8 Marlborough iwi) already reviewing our RPS and resource management plans. They are working together to identify issues of significance to tangata whenua, processes for resolving these issues and means of monitoring the efficiency and effectiveness of their implementation. Some the recommendations are assisting to inform the preparation of draft provisions.” – Marlborough District Council

“The Council has a full suite of operative Regional Policy Statement and regional plans in place all of which have specific and detailed policies on the relationship between Māori and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, wāhi tapu and other taonga including recognition of iwi and hapu as kaitiaki within their rohe… The Council's Fresh Water and Coastal Plans are coming up for review and the WAI 262 reports certainly provide an excellent (and very impressive) source of wideranging and detailed information that will assist in the review process.” – Taranaki Regional Council

"Iwi get a weekly list of all resource consent applications received that week. If Iwi want more details of the application we send them a copy and will consider them affected parties as appropriate. Essentially we view iwi as being the "expert" for cultural impacts and will accommodate their requirements as long as they are within the scope of the application." - Nelson City Council

Our Recommendations in Regard to the WAI 262 Report

The recommendations of this report are hugely significant as they allow for Māori epistemologies to be recognised in law and in particular areas of resource management. The report has a lot to offer council authorities in regard to fostering relationships with Māori and drawing in that notion of true partnership, where Māori values and epistemologies are recognised and taken on board. This report in relation to resource management makes various recommendations as highlighted in the above sections.

Notions around Kaitiakitanga are already embedded aspects of the Resource Management Act, however, the recommendations of the report in regard to resource management looks at further asserting tikanga Māori and Māori world views.

The idea of true partnership reflects the guarantees under article three of the Treaty of Waitangi. This report asserts this particular ideal of true partnership through taking the view that Māori should not only act as merely another group to be consulted, rather they become an active part of the decision making process by law.

It is clear that these recommendations correspond to the primary purpose of the Resource Management Act 1991, which relates to the promotion of the sustainable management of natural and physical resources. This idea and notion is nothing new to the Māori world. Māori prior to colonisation took the sustainable management of resources very seriously as they were aware that if they exploited their resources, there would be nothing left for later generations. Therefore, Māori world views in regard to resources reflect a cultural concept of Kaitiakitanga or guardianship over the resources. Māori do not own the resources, rather they see themselves as protectors of the land ensuring that the resources are there forever. This is a cultural practice which functions at a protective level in regard to natural resources and asserts for the sustainable management of the resources. Therefore, the implementation of the recommendations of this report into law in terms of resource management, will work to reinforce the primary purpose of the Resource Management Act in a way that fosters the ideals of true partnership and therefore true sustainable management of resources.

If the WAI 262 recommendations are implemented by government bodies it has the potential to significantly contribute to the way resource management is perceived and executed in New Zealand at both a local and national level. The report outlines specific ways to carry out sustainable management by setting up entities, adopting policies and encouraging sustainable practices, further developing a relationship between Maori and the Crown with respect to Kaitiakitanga from section 7(a) in the RMA. If this is done Section 8 of the RMA, reference to the Treaty of Waitangi, will be achieved. WAI 262 aims to develop a working partnership between the Crown and Maori where both parties mutually benefit in terms of resource management and overarching equity within all aspects of NZ society.


Hapū – Basic political unit within a Māori Society.

Iwi – A Maori Tribe.

Kaitiaki - Trustee, minder, guard, custodian, guardian, keeper.

Kaitiakitanga - The exercise of guardianship by the tangata whenua of an area in accordance with Tikanga Māori in relation to natural and physical resources; and includes the ethic of stewardship.

Kaupapa - Policy, scheme, proposal or agenda.

Kupe – In Māori Mythology, Kupe was involved in the Polynesian discovery of New Zealand.

Mahinga Kai – Traditional food gathering site, Garden cultivation.

Mana Whenua – The power and authority to produce a livelihood for the family and tribe from this land and it’s natural resources.

Mātauranga Māori - The unique Māori way of viewing the world.

Ngātiwai – A Māori iwi of the East Coast of the Northland Region of New Zealand stretching from Tapeka Point to Pakiri.

Pā site - A Māori defended settlement either comprising an enclosure bounded by a bank and ditch.

Pākehā - New Zealander of European Descent.

Papatūānuku - Mother Earth where all living things originate from.

Rangatira - Sovereignty, the right to exercise authority.

Rohe - A set of boundaries.

Rongoā - Traditional Māori healing.

Tangata Whenua – People of the land.

Taonga – A treasured thing, whether tangible or intangible.

Te Taura Whiri - Māori Language Commission.

Tikanga Māori – Māori culture, custom, ethic, etiquette, fashion, formality, lore, manner, meaning, mechanism, method, protocol, style.

Tino Rangatiratanga – The most contentious phrase from the Treaty of Waitangi. A rallying cry for Māori Independence.

Tohunga - An expert practitioner of any skill or art, religious or otherwise.

Wāhi Tapu - Sacred place: an area, such as a burial ground, set aside as tapu.

Whakapapa - Māori genealogy; an integral part of Māori culture.


We would like to acknowledge the following people for their insightful contributions to our research and the construction of this page.

Dr Paerau Warbrick from the division of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies at the University of Otago (Barrister, BA, PGDipArts, MA, LLB, DipGrad, PhD (Otago), Barrister & Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, Legal Practitioner of the Supreme Court of New South Wales)

David McKay from the Department of Geography at the University of Otago (M.App.Sc, P.G.Cert.Ant.Stud, P.G.Dip.Res.Stud, Dip.P,R&T.M, Dip.Teach.)

Hori Parata (WAI 262 expert and a practitioner/educator on areas regarding Kaitiakitanga).