After a year of planning, a historic agreement will be signed between iwi and local government next Saturday [17 January] when TaupM District Council grants Ngti Tkwharetoa decision-making powers in resource consent decisions - the first time a New Zealand local government has transferred powers to an iwi.
The Joint Management Agreement will be finalised at Tapeka Marae in Waihi Village, the principal home of Ngti Tkwharetoa Paramount Chief Tumu te Heuheu. TaupM District Council Mayor Rick Cooper will sign alongside Doctor te Heuheu, while New Zealand Governor-General Anand Satyanand will witness the proceedings.
As a result of the agreement, a joint committee will be established in which appropriately qualified iwi appointees will join TaupM District councillors in resource consent and private plan hearings changes which apply to Mori multiple-owned freehold land. It is estimated that more than 50 percent of Taupo district’s land area is owned by members of Ngti Tkwharetoa.
Mayor Rick Cooper says he is proud to be a part of such a significant occasion. “The agreement will usher in a new era of collaboration between the Council and local tngata whenua.”
“Given the importance of Ngti Tkwharetoa in the TaupM District, it is appropriate that they have some real authority and input into the decision making process,” he says.