Iwi, Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi

This page provides information on how we work with Māori and recognise the special role Māori have for our environment.

Ko te whenua te waiu mo nga uri whakatipu. 
Our land and resources provide the sustenance for our future generations. 

We recognise the special kaitiaki role Māori play in managing our natural resources and our responsibilities pursuant to Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi.

Māori have a deep knowledge of the environment, developed through their observation of the natural world of Aotearoa over time. Incorporating Māori viewpoints and values into environmental policy adds value to New Zealand’s resource management system, and we are committed to reflecting the Crown-Māori relationship under the Treaty in environmental policy and resource management arrangements.

Our strategic direction identifies working more closely with Māori to develop deeper relationships and understandings using new policies and processes as one of our four key approaches.

Our Kāhui Taiao team

Our Kāhui Taiao (environment group) team has three key responsibilities:

  1. To develop, improve and monitor the relationship between the Ministry and Māori so we can deliver effective legislation, regulation, and policy that meets our obligations to Māori as a Treaty partner. 
  2. To lead the negotiation of natural resource related redress (along with the Office of Treaty Settlements and other agencies) with iwi and hapū groups in Treaty of Waitangi settlements (see more detail on this below).
  3. To implement our agreements and commitments with settled iwi and hapū groups. This requires developing good working relationships with iwi and hapū groups, as well as partnering with them on environmental work programmes.

We work across our Ministry to provide support to Ministry staff when they engage with Māori as part of policy development or when programmes are being delivered. 

Who we are

Our Tumuaki/Deputy Secretary Kaupapa Māori, Che Wilson (Ngāti Rangi) adds a deep understanding of Māori values and perspectives to our Executive Leadership team, and provides a Māori voice and perspective on the Ministry’s work. Learn more about our Tumuaki on our Environment Leadership team page.

Our Pou Ārahi, George Ria (Rongowhakāta) provides cultural support, safety, facilitation and advice to all our staff. The Pou Ārahi is our thought leader and guide as we engage with iwi/hapū. He works closely with the Tumuaki and Kāhui Taiao team to proactively develop our relationship with Māori.

The rest of the team is made up of policy analysts who have worked with iwi and hapū groups across a range of disciplines.

Treaty of Waitangi settlements

The Office of Treaty Settlements leads the process for negotiating the settlement of iwi and hapū historical grievances against the Crown under the Treaty of Waitangi.  

We work closely with the Office of Treaty Settlements and other government agencies to develop resource management-related redress for inclusion in Treaty settlements. Any redress provided by the Crown has to be first negotiated between Crown agencies and the mandated iwi or hapū group, approved by Cabinet, ratified by the claimant community, and then passed by the legislature. 

Treaty settlements have provided innovative and meaningful ways for iwi or hapū to manage their natural resources.  Some examples are the provision of advisory boards or joint committees to increase input into local body decision making processes, and establishing statutory relationships between the iwi or hapū and our Ministry.

Each negotiation is unique. The redress included in each settlement differs according to the characteristics of the area of interest and aspirations of the iwi and hapū involved.

Find out more about the process on the Office of Treaty Settlements website.

Find out more on the historical grievance process on the Waitangi Tribunal website. 

Get involved

We engage with iwi/Māori in many ways – including on issues relating to fresh water, climate change, the Exclusive Economic Zone, and issues arising from the Resource Management Act. 

We welcome your contribution on any topic on which we are consulting. You can find open consultations on our homepage.

Feel free to contact us with your questions.

Reviewed:
16/09/14