Maori in Planning

For many Planners, taking into consideration the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi) and the values and interests of Maori in resource management is not a new concept. However, like all knowledge sets, awareness and understanding of Māori perspectives in resource management has evolved over the last five years. Treaty settlements are requiring the incorporation of Māori perspectives through engagement and governance arrangements, and second generation planning documents are imposing statutory and non-statutory methods enabling cultural practices and approaches to resource management.

Maori Perspective


A Māori perspective in planning is not straightforward when viewed through a general Western planning paradigm. 


Māori as tāngata whanua and/or mana whanua provide a resource management perspective sourced from Mātauranga Māori (indigenous knowledge) which is based on customary and traditional/cultural practices exercised through their role as kaitiaki. This role is performed in accordance with the tikanga and kawa of tāngata whanua. For this reason, there is not one Māori world view as it can vary between iwi, hapuu, marae and whanau. 


Papa Pounamu


Mātauranga Māori as with other forms of technical information, is an important source of information to assist planning and decision-making. Access and availability of the information for use in an application for consent or the development of limits and targets can only be achieved if professionals are prepared to engage with tāngata whanua and develop a trusting relationship. It is essential that tāngata whanua have a recognised role in resource management and decision-making. 


Being capable and well positioned to respond and advise stakeholders, democratic leaders and the community on the value of Te Ao Māori is important for the planning profession and for Papa Pounamu. It also enables the co-existence of two planning paradigms in New Zealand through positive dialogue.​

Papa Pounamu is a Special Interest Group of the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI), to join Papa Pounamu click here.  For information on becoming
a member of NZPI please click here or visit