Resource Management Act: RMA Link: Processes: Details

The RMAlink project aims to make community participation in all Resource Management Act processes more straightforward and less time-consuming. More effective participation from those with a concern for the environment will contribute towards improving environmental outcomes nationwide.

Processes: Details

Hosted by:

Wellington Community Network
Subject District and Regional Plan /Policy Processes

Text Iwi Management Plans

Iwi (or hapu) management plans are not official planning documents under the RMA, but play an important part in achieving the purpose of the RMA. The following sections of the RMA require consent authorities to make provision for consideration of Maori perspectives in planning and decision-making processes;

  • Section 6(e) The relationship of Maori and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, sites, waahi tapu and other taonga
  • Section 7(a) Kaitiakitanga
  • Section 8 concerning the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Iwi management plans are prepared by iwi (or hapu). Territorial and regional authorities must take into account iwi management plans when they are preparing or changing policies and plans (RMA sections 61(2), 62(1)(b), s66(2)(c), and s74(2)(c)). In order to do this, consultation is required in all planmaking and policymaking processes.

Iwi management plans usually;

  • Identify sites / areas / natural resources / issues of significance to Maori (including waahi tapu)
  • Contain information about iwi / hapu knowledge of environmental matters, and customary ways of managing natural resources.
  • Provide a vision of how the management and protection of natural and physical resources might be achieved in an iwi area, based on the cultural and spiritual values of the tangata whenua
  • State clearly how Maori wish to exercise their role as kaitiaki
  • Set ground rules and procedures for participation of whanau, hap, iwi or rununga in the various RMA (and community planning) processes.

Iwi management plans provide a clear framework that benefits all parties. They help to streamline processes between iwi and councils. The process of preparing a plan assists tangata whenua to identify priorities and objectives for managing the environment. Plans provide territorial local authorities, resource consent consultants and applicants with an understanding of issues prior to carrying out iwi consultation.

Plans provide important background knowledge for regional and district authorities developing policy (and planning documents) on matters of significance to tangata whenua, and allow Maori to influence these processes in a proactive way. Overall, they minimise the need for councils to take a case-by-case approach to similar issues, and generate greater community understanding of the views of iwi on the environment.



Beca Carter Hollings and Ferner et. al. (2000) Te Raranga a Mahi: Developing Environmental Management Plans for Whanau, Hapu and Iwi. Ministry for the Environment, Wellington. ISBN 0-478-24003-1
This extensive manual provides guidance for Maori who are developing iwi management plans, simple or comprehensive. It is a tool kit, that brings together practical examples and models and experience in developing and implementing iwi management plans. Contains a reference list of existing iwi management plans, current to mid- 2000.

MFE (2001) Whakamau ki Nga Kaupapa - Making the best of iwi management plans under the Resource Management Act 1991 ME 395 (Updated June 2003)
Minstry for the Environment, Wellington.
This guide provides a practical summary of ideas to help local authorities make the most of iwi management plans and other iwi planning documents. Includes discussion of techniques that could be developed to help council staff build positive relationships with iwi, as a starting point for making good use of iwi plans. Explains legislative context for iwi management plans, the status of `iwi planning documents' in the plan hierarchy, and the requirement to take into account. Available online at

Te Puni Kokiri (2001) He Tirohanga Kawa ki te Tiriti o Waitangi: A guide to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi as expressed by the Courts and the Waitangi Tribunal.
Te Puni Kokiri, Wellington.
Includes historical background about the Treaty, key concepts, and a chapter on the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi as expressed by the Courts and the Waitangi Tribunal. Relevant to Section 8 of the RMA.
Available from Te Puni Kokiri, Wellington, or order through their website

Te Puni Kokiri (1993) Mauriora ki te Ao: An Introduction to Environmental and Resource Management Planning.
Te Puni Kokiri, Wellington. 35p. ISBN 0-478-04303-1
A useful basic guide to concepts of Maori environmental management, and guidelines to assist Maori groups who are developing an environmental resource management plan.
Available from Te Puni Kokiri, Wellington.

PCE (1998) Kaitiakitanga and Local Government: Tangata Whenua Participation in Environmental Management.
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Wellington.
This study revisited an earlier investigation on guidelines for local authority consultation with tangata whenua. The report reviews progress made on tangata whenua involvement in Resource Management Act (RMA) processes and identifies a number of areas for improvement, particularly in the areas of processes followed and relationships between iwi and councils.

MFE (2000) Talking constructively: A practical guide for building agreements between iwi, hapu and whanau, and local authorities. ME338
Ministry for the Environment, Wellington.

MFE (2000) Iwi and local government interaction under the Resource Management Act 1991: Examples of good practice. ME336
Ministry for the Environment, Wellington. ISBN 0 478 09066

MFE (1999) Case Law on Tangata Whenua Consultation: RMA Working Paper. ME 324.
Ministry for the Environment, Wellington.
This paper is targeted primarily at local authorities and iwi authorities working under the Resource Management Act, and aims to assist them in understanding the principles emerging from case law. Some material may now be out of date.

All the MFE publications listed are available online at the Ministrys website,

Web-based resources

Resources: See Consultation with Tangata Whenua under Guidance on Planning Topics for a summary of best practice examples, and case law.