The lack of knowledge associated with Maori cultural sites, features and landscapes in Auckland results in the continued threat of degradation and destruction of the values associated with our Maori cultural heritage from the adverse effects of subdivision, use and development.Where sufficient information exists on the location and values of sites, the Unitary Plan can afford protection through scheduling of sites through the Sites of Significance to Mana Whenua overlay. Scheduling offers the greatest protection through the Unitary Plan, as a significant amount of research is required to provide a robust basis for scheduling these sites.Despite a large number of Mana Whenua groups having a strong association with the Auckland area, within Auckland very few sites have been scheduled. The lack of scheduling may be due to a number of reasons including the sensitivity of the information surrounding the protection of the site, and the reluctance of Mana Whenua to make this information available in a public document. There are thousands of areas, features and sites within Auckland where there is a high likelihood of Maori cultural heritage being discovered or affected. It is important that there are robust processes to ensure that the values associated with areas, features and sites that are not scheduled are also appropriately recognised and managed. Knowledge of where Maori cultural heritage may exist helps reduce the risk of damage, enable development that properly reflects the values associated with the context of an area, informs land owners and applicants of the characteristics of their site, and helps to avoid major time and cost implications to applicants when development is halted by accidental discovery.Sources such as Treaty of Waitangi settlement legislation and deeds of settlement provide robust evidence on areas, features and sites of significance to Mana Whenua for their tangible or intangible values. Other documents identify locations where Maori cultural heritage has been recorded or discovered in the past. This is further supported by Mana Whenua involvement in accidental discovery protocols. These information sources have been collated into a non-statutory Maori cultural heritage alert layer, which will be updated as new information becomes available on council’s geographic information system (GIS). The use of an alert layer provides a precautionary approach to management of Maori cultural heritage and an early warning to know when engagement with Mana Whenua or a cultural impact assessment may be required.If Maori cultural heritage is identified through engagement or discovered, the relevant Maori cultural heritage rules will apply. Mana Whenua have the right to choose not to identify places or values of historic, cultural or spiritual significance or special value. Further work will be undertaken with Mana Whenua to formally review and consider the most appropriate method to protect these areas, features and sites to achieve Mana Whenua aspirations.
Maori cultural landscapes (areas of significance to Mana Whenua)Maori cultural heritage extends beyond individual sites of significance and includes wider ‘areas’ of historic occupation, where Mana Whenua values and associations with the landscape are reflected through landmarks, place names, portages, areas of seasonal occupation and historical transport routes that are also of importance to Mana Whenua.Mana Whenua liken their cultural landscape to their cultural footprint/tapuwae – which is of Maori cultural heritage in its own right. It is not site-specific; rather it is the context of the landscape, the volcanic maunga fields, and the numerous waterways and tributaries overlaid by layers of Maori history. Maori cultural landscapes provide the context and identify relationships within which areas, features and sites of significance to Mana Whenua exist, recognising that sites do not exist in isolation. It is important that Mana Whenua values and associations present in the landscape are retained so that future generations can pass on traditional skills and knowledge. In some cases, protection is appropriate for areas, features and sites that are important to the wider Maori community and not specifically for their significance to Mana Whenua.It is important that Mana Whenua values and associations are considered early in the planning process. Ensuring sensitive development and reflection of these values and associations in the landscape can often add value to subdivision, use and development. The connection of Mana Whenua to their culture and traditions is enhanced through the reflection of their values and associations in the land and seascape.Maori cultural landscapes are identified in the Maori cultural heritage alert layer as guidance. The Maori cultural heritage controls in Part 4 - Rules relate to unscheduled areas, features and sites:a. where Maori cultural heritage is known to be present or there is a high likelihood of being presentb. that are identified through accidental discovery (e.g. koiwi, archaeology and artefacts of Maori origin).The controls recognise that the majority of Maori cultural heritage is not scheduled within the Unitary Plan and provides a form of protection for these areas, features and sites by adopting a precautionary approach.Information managementMaori knowledge is traditionally passed down orally from one generation to the next. Tohunga and kaumatua are repositories of knowledge and are highly regarded for their knowledge of the spiritual and physical realms. These customs are still commonplace in Maori culture and it is important that sensitive information is managed in accordance with protocols that have been agreed with Mana Whenua.