Hapū Want Deeper Engagement with Local Council

Sept. 10, 2019, 10:46 a.m.

A recent report assessing the relationship between Whangārei hapū with local council authorities in regards to environmental protection highlighted that authentic participation is still yet to be achieved. 

Tāne Whakapiripiri was a project coordinated by hapū delegates who were tasked to carry out a number of activities to gather information including a desktop stocktake, online surveys, targeted workshops and a series of wānanga. 

Logistics coordinator Mylie George said the purpose of the project was to look at ways to build hapu capacity engagement with local government in matters relating to natural resource protection, management and economic opportunities.    

“There’s heaps of gaps and there’s lots of room for them to engage intentionally.  It’s really hard for our hapū on the ground to come together.

“Tāne Whakapiripiri is about collaborating and bringing all that information together and for our whānau to have a one stop shop,” George said.

 Recommended approaches for councils to engage with hapū were found to be:

-          Piloting a Whangārei Hapū Technician pool.

-          Developing an ongoing regular RMA engagement workshop schedule.

-          Creating an online portal and toolkit for Whangārei hapū.

A key point raised were issues with resource consents where many hapū felt their engagement in the consent process was seen as a “tick box” exercise where cultural perspectives were undervalued and meaningful engagement was rare.

“Some of our whānau get 40 resource consent applications a month, most of us don't get paid to do that mahi and we’re just doing the best we can,” George said.

George said there’s a breakdown between hapū delegates, front line staff and councils that is essential to bridging communication.

“Those people that are in there doing the mahi are really good but there's a gap between those that are doing the mahi and council.

“We’re relating to them like council and they don’t see themselves like that.  We hope that this report will help close those gaps.”

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