Ngāi Tahu and the consent process

We have legal responsibility under the Local Government Act 2002, the Resource Management Act 1991 and within the resource consent process to take account of tangata whenua with regard to the management of natural resources. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu is the statutory authority representing iwi members and includes ten local rūnanga within Canterbury, known as Papatipu Rūnanga.

If you have any queries about Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Papatipu Rūnanga within the resource consent process, including whether you need to undertake consultation, please talk to us. Our consents planners provide an hour of free advice after which there is an hourly charge + GST.

Engaging with Ngāi Tahu

Tangata whenua will generally expect that:

  • They have access to all of the relevant information.
  • There is a willingness to meet face to face and that their values will be respected.
  • If a meeting is agreed to on the local marae, any costs are met as part of the consultation process.
  • You are aware of and will consider any relevant Settlement Act legislation or iwi management plans.

Tangata whenua may expect you to commission and pay for a Cultural Impact Assessment report. This is not a legal requirement, but it is good practice — especially for large-scale applications and developments that might have a big impact on tangata whenua. Click here to better understand what is needed from a Cultural Impact Assessment.

Tangata whenua are not the consent authority, but they are interested — and sometimes affected — parties. While a fee may be required of you from the rūnanga or their business, you are under no legal obligation to meet these expenses. However, there may be circumstances where you could benefit from contracting the services of tangata whenua in the same way you might contract an environmental consultant.

Environment Canterbury does not take part in negotiations between a consent applicant and tangata whenua. If you are unsure about the need to consult with tangata whenua, contact us for advice.

Process for applicants

Questions to answer when drafting an application

  • Which Papatipu Rūnanga cover(s) the site where the activity is to be located? Click here to find out .
  • Is the activity within, adjacent to, or likely to affect a Statutory Acknowledgement Area or Mātaitai – Taiāpure?
  • Is the activity within a silent file area, Rūnanga Sensitive Area or the Te Waihora Cultural Landscape/Values Management Area?
  • What matters of importance to Ngāi Tahu are likely to be affected by the activity?
  • What is the best way to avoid, remedy or mitigate effects on Ngāi Tahu values?
  • How does the activity fit within Part 2 of the RMA?
  • Is the activity consistent with policies and objectives of iwi and council planning documents?
The RMA and iwi planning documents

Part 2 of the RMA, through Sections 5 to 8, makes specific reference to cultural values, the relationship of Māori to land and water, kaitiakitanga (guardianship by mana whenua) and the Treaty of Waitangi.

An application must meet the purpose of the RMA, which incorporates the above elements for consideration. Iwi and council planning documents provide guidance, through policies and objectives, about what needs to be considered in relation to Ngāi Tahu values in order to satisfy Part 2 of the RMA.

Effects on Ngāi Tahu values

Ngāi Tahu has produced planning and reference documents which are available to help applicants identify matters of importance to iwi. These are called iwi management plans (IMPs).

IMPs also provide direction on how best to avoid, remedy or mitigate effects on cultural values. Further guidance material for applicants on IMPs is located here. Copies of the IMPs are available here.

Affected party status

Ngāi Tahu as an iwi, and specifically Papatipu Rūnanga representing mana whenua, are considered an affected party where effects on cultural values are minor or more than minor, in accordance with Section 95E of the RMA.

In this case obtaining written approval from Papatipu Rūnanga is an important step for an application to proceed without notification and requires direct consultation with Ngāi Tahu.

Without approval, applications to undertake those activities with minor or more than minor effects are notified, which means they are open to submissions and may result in a hearing. Where there is more than one rūnanga affected, approval is required from each.

In addition, written approval from Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu is needed for activities with minor or more than minor effects within, adjacent to, or affecting, statutory acknowledgment areas.

Useful definitions
Statutory acknowledgement areas
Statutory acknowledgement areas are listed in the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998 (NTCSA), Schedules 14 to 77, as areas of particular significance to Ngāi Tahu.
An applicant will need to consider whether the activity is within, or adjacent to, a statutory acknowledgement area, or whether the area could be affected even if the activity is outside the immediate area (through cumulative discharge effects for example).
For more details on statutory acknowledgment areas click here. You can also identify these Areas using Canterbury Maps (or download this PDF) within the layer labelled ‘Ngai Tahu related features and layers.
Mātaitai – Taiāpure
A mātaitai reserve is a traditional fishing area of special significance to tangata whenua which has been established by the Minister of Fisheries.
A taiāpure is a local fisheries area established because it has special significance to iwi as a source of food or for spiritual or cultural reasons.
You need to identify and consider effects that are within, adjacent to or likely to affect mātaitai – taiāpure.
Mātaitai – taiāpure can be identified using the Canterbury Maps (or download this PDF)within the layer labelled 'Ngai Tahu related features and layers’.
Silent file areas
Silent files are areas identified by Papatipu Rūnanga as requiring special protection due to the presence of significant wāhi tapu (sacred places) or wāhi taonga (treasured possessions) in the area.
Where activities occur in silent file areas, consultation with Papatipu Rūnanga is particularly important in order to identify effects of the activity and avoid, remedy or mitigate those effects. Silent file areas can be identified using Canterbury Maps (or download this PDFwithin the layer labelled 'Ngai Tahu related features and layers'.
Absence of a silent file area on GIS does not mean there are no wāhi tapu or wāhi taonga sites in the area. Rather, presence of a silent file indicates the presence of a significant wāhi tapu or wāhi taonga site.

Rūnanga sensitive areas

In addition to the silent file areas, since October 2015 other areas have been added to Canterbury Maps (or download this PDFto highlight where there are cultural values that may be sensitive to adverse effects. These areas are a guide only, but provide some more direction to likely areas of concern.

Rūnanga sensitive areas can be identified using the Canterbury Maps (or download this PDFwithin the layer labelled 'Ngai Tahu related features and layers’.

Te Waihora Cultural Landscape/Values Management Area

Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is a significant cultural taonga to Ngāi Tahu and is also known as Te Kete Ika o Rākaihautū (the fish basket of Rākaihautū).

At the consenting level, this means that Environment Canterbury must have regard to the significance of the lake when making recommendations on the notification of applications and the affected party status of tangata whenua.

The Te Waihora Cultural Landscape/Values Management Area is the area of land comprising the Lake Zone and River Zone identified in Section 11.8 of the Land and Water Regional Plan.

The Lake Zone encompasses Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere, its margins and wetlands and is shown on the planning maps.

The River Zone is 20 metres either side of the rivers listed in Section 11.8 of the Land and Water Regional Plan, with some exceptions. The 20 metres is measured from the edge of the river bed and from the source of the river to the lake.

The Te Waihora Cultural Landscape/Values Management Area is shown in Canterbury Maps (or download this PDFunder the layer labelled 'Ngai Tahu related features and layers'.

If your application is within the Te Waihora Cultural Landscape/Values Management Area you need to consider the effects of your proposal on the management area.

Contacts for Papatipu Runanga and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu is the statutory authority representing iwi members and includes ten local rūnanga within Canterbury, known as Papatipu Rūnanga.
‘Papatipu’ refers to ancestral land. Local Papatipu Rūnanga have the status of mana whenua with kaitiaki status (guardianship) over land and water within their takiwā or territory.
For that reason, local Papatipu Rūnanga offices are the primary points of contact in the resource consent process.
Depending on where the activity is to occur within Canterbury, the values of one or more Papatipu Rūnanga may be affected.
Iwi interests as a whole may also be affected where an activity is to occur within, adjacent to, or affecting an area recognised in the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998 as a statutory acknowledgement area. In those circumstances, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu will be involved in management of the area.
Use Canterbury Maps (or download this PDFto see which rūnanga covers your property.
Hurunui River catchment and all areas north to Marlborough:
  • Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura
Takahanga Marae
P O Box 39
Kaikōura 7300
Email: Takahanga.office@ngaitahu.iwi.nz.
Phone: (03) 319 6523
Hurunui River south to the Ashburton River, including Banks Peninsula:
  • Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga
  • Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke
  • Te Rūnanga o Koukourārata
  • Ōnuku Rūnanga
  • Wairewa Rūnanga

For the above five runanga, please contact Mahaanui Kurataiao Ltd in the first instance for all consent applicants:

Mahaanui Kurataiao Ltd
PO Box 3246 
Christchurch 8140
Email: mkt.admin@ngaitahu.iwi.nz
Phone: (03) 377 4374

Taumutu (Leeston), Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) and adjoining Tūāhuriri and Arowhenua takiwā south to Hakatere (Ashburton):

  • Taumutu Rūnanga (Leeston)

Ngāti Moki Marae
P O Box 3214
Christchurch 8140
Email: taumutu.kaitiakitanga@ngaitahu.iwi.nz
Phone: (03) 371-2660

Temuka, from Rakaia Catchment to Waitaki Catchment, inland to the Alps

  • Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua
Arowhenua Marae

38 Huirapa Street
Temuka
Contact the Marae office: Gwen Bower
Email: arowhenua@xtra.co.nz
Phone: (03) 615-9646

Waihao catchment and Waitaki Catchment, inland to the Alps

  • Te Rūnanga o Waihao

Waihao Marae
C/- Kāi Tahu ki Otago Ltd
P O Box 446
Dunedin 9058
Contact: Tania Richardson
Email: tania@ktkoltd.co.nz
Phone: (03) 477-0071

  • Te Rūnanga o Moeraki

Moeraki Marae
C/- Kāi Tahu ki Otago Ltd
P O Box 446
Dunedin 9058
Contact: Tania Richardson
Email: info@ktkoltd.co.nz
Phone: (03) 477-0071

Where the proposal affects a statutory acknowledgement area or other areas referenced in the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998 also contact:

  • Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

Toitū te Whenua consents  team
P O Box 13-046
Christchurch
Email: ttw@ngaitahu.iwi.nz
Phone: (03) 366-4344 or 0800 KAI TAHU
Ask for Toitū te Whenua resource consents team.

Iwi management plans (IMPs)
Iwi management plans (IMPs) are important in assisting with the identification of Ngāi Tahu cultural values. 

They are prepared as an expression of rangatiratanga to help iwi and hapū exercise their guardianship roles and responsibilities and help to identify natural and physical resources in each area.