A Colonial Hangover Revisited

SESSION: Friday 22nd March, 2:50pm - 3:20pm
Andrew Henderson

In 1994 I completed the Masters of Regional and Resource Planning programme with a thesis entitled "Nursing a Colonial Hangover - Towards Bicultural Planning in New Zealand". I postulated that planning in NZ was monocultural and traditionally ignored the needs and aspirations of Māori.

Almost 30 years have passed since my study, which was driven in part by youthful enthusiasm, a desire to see indigenous values recognised as a valid lens through which to see the world, and a belief that the siloed manner in which resources had been managed were, in essence, a 'colonial hangover' - driven by the need to control, own and profit from resources based on a very western way of thinking.

I concluded that the NZ planning system was incapable of facilitating a bicultural planning approach, the RMA was seriously flawed in respect of tangata whenua interests and concerns, and that colonial mindsets do not disappear easily, which appeared to be the case with the NZ planning system.

I suggested a range of measures to overcome these issues, including:

  • Elevate the Treaty of Waitangi to become the framework for all NZ policy.
  • Amend section 8 to prioritise the Treaty.
  • Give Māori concepts and pakeha objectives equal standing
  • Strengthen the obligation to include Māori concerns in statutory processes, including the ability to recover costs.

Some 30 years on, my paper reviews my original study and findings, and considers, among other matters, what has changed (or stayed the same) and whether the NBEA addresses these issues in light of the upcoming reform and co-governance debates. My comments draw from almost 30 years of NZ experience, and insights gained from serving as a Director for Aoraki Environmental Consultancy.

Presented By

Andrew Henderson

Principal Planner, Jacobs New Zealand

Andrew is currently a Principal Planner for Jacobs NZ. His planning career started with a planning Master's thesis in 1994 which critically examined the RMA and how it provided for Māori environmental values, drawing on an undergraduate degree majoring in Māori. Since then, Andrew has provided advice to a range of clients on these issues, and is also currently a Board Member of Aoraki Environmental Consultancy, mandated to represent Te Runanga o Arowhenua in planning matters in South canterbury.