Auckland Council recently released a discussion document on developing ‘a water strategy to ensure a secure, sustainable, and healthy future for water in Auckland’. We covered this issue in the March update, but to briefly recap, as to the advancement of a co-governance agenda, concerns centre on the following statements:
- Working in partnership with Māori is an essential part of this process. (In answer to questioning, Cr Penny Hulse, Chair of the Environment and Community Committee, writes: “Our partnership with our Kaitiaki forum is strong and they are with us every step of the way as we work on this strategy).
- The involvement of mana whenua* in governance and decision-making roles as an ongoing part of this process.
- Applying a Māori world view. (Which of course only Maori can decide. Cr Hulse again: “The Maori world view will be explained in the final document and it will be clearly seen throughout the entire strategy”).
*the glossary defines ‘mana whenua’ as ‘Hapū and iwi with ancestral relationships to certain areas in Tāmaki Makaurau where they exercise customary authority’.
Further, the ‘Our Water Future’ discussion document (p.50) states that:
“Putting te mauri o te wai at the centre of our approach to water means that we must incorporate a Māori world view across all of the elements of our framework. So, how might a Māori world view shape our thinking and decision-making? With advice from the Mana Whenua Kaitiaki Forum, we think there are three main issues:
- placing te mauri o te wai at the centre of decision making processes
- incorporating mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge and expertise)
- providing for mana whenua in governance arrangements.
We would like to explore how we might increase opportunities for mana whenua to exercise their enduring kaitiaki role over the waters of Tāmaki Makaurau. It could include a range of opportunities, from co-governance arrangements to hands-on projects (some of which might be enabled through the council's social procurement policy)”.
Responding to a question about the proposal to provide for mana whenua in governance arrangements, Cr Hulse referred to the Maunga as a good example. However, based on experience of how the Maunga Authority operates, this possibility is very concerning.
The Maunga Authority (TMA) is a co-governance entity, consisting of six iwi reps and six from Auckland Council. The chairperson is elected by the iwi members. Actions by the TMA have resulted in clashes between the TMA and local boards, who have complained about a lack of consultation. In an interview for an article published in the Listener in 2017, the Chair Paul Majurey said that the TMA’s decisions put the Maori world view at its centre, and that there is not a process for objection in terms of decisions made by the authority. You can read the article HERE.
Have your say. Feedback must be received by 19 April 2019. You can do so online at akhaveyoursay.nz. Or you can fill out a submission form available at libraries, service centres and local board offices, although a member advises we not use the Council’s set questionnaire, as it does not give the opportunity to have a say on issues relating to application of a Māori world view, and the co-governance proposals.