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Assessing cultural effects

To fully understand the potential effects of a proposed activity on people and the environment, cultural effects must be addressed within the Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE) section of a resource consent application.

It's likely that any consent application lodged without an assessment of cultural effects will be deemed incomplete and returned to the applicant.

Note: The term ‘tangata whenua’ is used throughout this section and refers to any iwi, hapū, whānau or other group who holds mana whenua over an area of interest.

The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) recognises the relationship tangata whenua have with their ancestral lands, water, sites of significance, w(sacred sites), and other taonga (treasures).

The resource consent process provides a mechanism for the protection of these cultural values. It means that anyone wanting to carry out an activity that may have an effect on these values needs to consult tangata whenua about their proposed activity and address the potential effects within their resource consent application; specifically, within the Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE). The applicant may need to consider options to avoid, remedy or mitigate any potential effects on cultural values that are identified during the consultation process.

Assessing cultural effects can be a daunting task for both those applying for consent and the tangata whenua that may be affected. It can be especially challenging for people that are not familiar with the RMA or that are inexperienced at articulating or assessing cultural relationships with an area or a natural resource. Please remain respectful of this throughout the process.