In October 2020 at Arahura Marae, Poutini Ngāi Tahu and The West Coast Regional Council celebrated a significant milestone with New Zealand’s first signing of a Mana Whakahono ā Rohe - Iwi Participation Agreement.
The agreement, with an overarching Paetae Kotahitanga ki Te Tai Poutini - Partnership Protocol, is a collaboration between representatives from Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae, Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, and West Coast Regional Council, formally acknowledging the strong partnership and relationship between Council and Ngāi Tahu on the West Coast.
Iwi Participation Agreements are tools under the Resource Management Act, designed to assist tangata whenua and local authorities to discuss, agree and record how they will work together, including how tangata whenua will be involved in resource management decisions.
While the process took just over a year, it reflects the many years of collaborative work between the parties. The Agreement brings the many processes and procedures into one place, confirming workstreams and regional alignment on priorities for the West Coast. The outcome of the Mana Whakahono ā Rohe has been the clear understanding by all parties on issues and processes related to the RMA and settlement legislation. It also provides a stronger pathway for Iwi involvement in RMA processes, tailored to local needs. Feeding into Te Tai o Poutini Plan (the combined District Plan for the Buller, Grey and Westland District Councils), it has influenced the shape and recognition of Poutini Ngāi Tahu values within the Plan and our future.