Red, black and white

Water allocation and reclaiming rangatiratanga rights

SESSION: Thursday 20th April

The Minister for the Environment announced that the resource management reforms are “a once in a generation opportunity to get the system right”. That we would re-form our system into something that was fit for purpose, emphasised wellbeing, and upheld Tiriti principles. A series of online research wānanga that consider Māori resistance and resilience within the context of planning, policy making, and the reforms has given a clear consensus that the proposed system is not fit for OUR purpose. Given that, is transformative change still possible? Is there still hope or should we continue flying the national flag at half-mast? In this kōrero, the potential for transformative change will be considered regarding the draft Natural and Built Environment bill’s provision for ‘market-based allocation methods’, which would allow for the allocation of taonga (or resources) like water, air, soil, coastal waters. Critics warn that the drafting contradicts the new hierarchy of obligations in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (2020) – ecosystem health first, followed by human health, and lastly social, economic and cultural wellbeing. But is there a third way to ‘manage resources’, yet to be explored?

Ngā Puna Aroha is a conceptual framework that promotes the shift from ego-system based management to ngā taonga tuku iho system-based management. It advocates for, and builds on, the NPSFM hierarchy through application of first principles, including honouring of Te Tiriti and prioritisation of environmental taonga before people and economic benefit, across the whole system. What could this look like if we were to adopt a holistic, integrated approach – that allowed for Aotearoa-appropriate allocation – across our whole management system. Ngā Puna Aroha will be presented as an alternative system framing that is Aotearoa-specific. That embodies te ao Māori, and prioritises the wellbeing of Papaptūānuku first, to restore and regenerate the ecosystems that modernisation has so quickly degraded, so that she may continue to provide for and nurture us. An approach that reconstitutes what an Aotearoa-specific economy looks like, and re-centres te mana o te Ao Tūroa (Dr Walker-Hockey 2020). Concluding with a raising of the (red, black, and white) flag, an affirmation of rangatiratanga – and a call for planners and practitioners to be bold and innovative, and to exercise their agency within their respective contexts, to help shift the conversations and the resource management paradigm to a truly Tiriti-based, Aotearoa-specific system.

Presented By

Lara Taylor

E Oho!