To fully understand the potential effects of a proposed activity on people and the environment, an assessment of cultural effects must be included with a consent application.

Depending on the scale of effects, this assessment may be a short statement or more detailed and formal Cultural Impact Assessment (CIA) but either way it's important tāngata whenua are engaged. 

It's likely any consent application with no cultural effects assessment included will be returned.

Where you should start?

The Resource Management Act (RMA) recognises the relationship tāngata whenua have with the environment is a fundamental cornerstone of their identity as a people. In doing so, the resource consent process provides a key mechanism for the protection of tāngata whenua values. There are opportunities in the process that provide for tāngata whenua to actively seek the protection of their taonga.

Assessing cultural effects can be a daunting undertaking for both those applying and tāngata whenua, especially those not familiar with the RMA or used to articulating their relationship with an area or a resource. For applicants, early consultation with tāngata whenua is best practice.  

The best way to learn about any potential cultural effects is to contact the relevant iwi and/or hapū to your area for comment on your proposed activity. You can access a list of contacts for these iwi and/or hapū by phoning the Consents Duty Officer on 0800 884 883. Whether you are contacting that iwi or hapū's representative by phone or email, make sure you have a copy of your proposal and application handy so you can answer any questions they may have.

Please keep a record of these communications so you can provide them as part of your cultural effects assessment with your application.


Assessing potential cultural effects against proposed activity

Our hapū and iwi management plans, plans and policy statements provide an overview of the resource management issues for our region and set out how we plan to manage these natural and physical resources. Throughout these plans and policy statements is a commitment to understand and take into account cultural values in relation to natural resources. Applicants need to look at the relevant sections of these documents and assess them against their proposed activity. Once applicants have carried out this initial assessment, this will help guide their conversation around potential effects with relevant tāngata whenua. 

Depending on the level of potential effects a short report summarising these effects may be sufficient for inclusion with the consent application. If the cultural effects are more than minor then a Cultural Impact Assessment, prepared by tāngata whenua, may be required. 


Cultural Impact Assessment 

A Cultural Impact Assessment (CIA) is prepared by an iwi authority, their nominee or any other person approved by the iwi authority. It formalises the assessment of cultural effects process and looks at potential effects from the proposed activity on Māori cultural values, interests and associations with an area or a resource. 

Cost of engaging with tāngata whenua

Resource consent applicants are expected to consult with tāngata whenua when proposed activities may affect their cultural values. Depending on the scale of effects they may need to charge a fee for:

  • Considering an application.
  • Conducting a site visit.
  • Meeting with applicants and their experts.
  • Preparing a Cultural Impact Assessment, if one is needed.

It is important applicants discuss the proposed activity with the relevant Iwi or Hapū Authority to discuss and agree on the proposed methodology, timing and costs for an Assessment of Cultural Effects. The hourly rate is often based on market rates for technical services.

Resource Management Act workshops for Māori kaitiaki

The Toi Moana Māori Policy and Consents teams have teamed up to offer training for iwi and hapū representatives to learn more about the Resource Management Act (RMA). 

A series of three workshops are available to empower tāngata whenua to participate as treaty partners in the management of our natural resources.  

Each workshop takes about five hours to complete; there are three blocks RMA 101-102 and the advanced RMA 103 workshop. If you have a group of whanau that would like to attend a workshop, please contact one of our Māori Policy Advisors by calling 0800 884 880 and they can arrange one for you.

The advisors from each constituency are:  

  • Reuben Gardner (Mauao) Tauranga
  • Sandy Hohepa (Kōhi) Eastern bay
  • Katerina Pihera-Ridge (Ōkurei) Rotorua

Workshops can be hosted by our Māori policy team or we can come to your preferred location. For us it’s all about participation and whatever we can do to help make it work for you.