Māori are key partners, stakeholders and members of our community.

The Bay of Plenty has the largest number of iwi within any region in New Zealand and also has New Zealand's second largest Māori population.

  • There are 35 iwi groups (iwi authorities and/or iwi rūnanga), 260 hapū and 224 marae.
  • The Bay of Plenty region has the second highest rate of Māori language speakers in the country.
  • Māori represent almost a third of the region’s population.
  • Around 37 percent of land tenure is in Māori title. There are more than 5000 parcels of Māori land in the region.
  • There are approximately 1800 land trusts in the region which hold more than $6.6 billion in assets.
  • Recent Treaty settlements delivered $433 million of investment funding into the Bay of Plenty region. This will increase with future settlements.

Māori make a significant contribution to our region through their ownership of notable assets; contribution to economic development; participation in co-governance and their growing influence in the conservation, preservation and management of our natural resources.  

Tuwhiwhia Marae

Kaupapa Māori

Our region's population is 28 percent Māori. Of the regions land area, 38 percent is in Māori ownership, with 1800 Māori Land Trusts managing these assets. There are 35 iwi, 260 hapū and 224 marae located across the region and many have iwi or hapū management plans.

Maori carving on Matakana Island

Engaging Māori

We work on a wide range of planning and policy issues that may require some form of Māori and iwi engagement. We are committed to growing our partnerships with Māori through collaborative engagement.

Flax weaving

Treaty Toolkit

The Waitangi Tribunal has held 17 historical inquiries across the region identifying Treaty breaches. Iwi have used these reports to support negotiations of several comprehensive Treaty settlements with the Office of Treaty Settlements. 

Maori carving

Statutory acknowledgements

The Ngā Whakaaetanga-ā-Ture ki Te Taiao ā Toi (Statutory Acknowledgements in the Bay of Plenty) is a compendium document to be read as an attachment to and in conjunction with the Operative Rotorua Geothermal Regional Plan including proposed regional plan or policy statement, and any variation or change notified by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.


Flying the NZ Māori Flag

In August 2021 Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council made a decision to fly the National Māori flag (NZMF) daily.

In August 2021 Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council made a decision to fly the National Māori flag (NZMF) daily. Previously the NZMF had been flown on select occasions of significance, since 2011. Daily flying of the NZMF alongside the New Zealand flag and our Regional Council banner, provides regional acknowledgement of our relationship with tangata whenua/hapū/Iwi and recognition of Treaty partnerships in the Bay of Plenty. The NZMF is symbolic of Councils strategic priority of enhancing partnerships with Māori for the collective benefit of our region.


Designed in 1990, the NZMF flag denotes the intimate relationship between earth (Papatuanuku), sky (Ranginui) and the world of light in between (Te Ao Marama). It is reflective of the Māori creation story where all elements are intertwined and where balance and reciprocity is maintained as a key to sustaining life.  Red is the colour of the earth, black the heavens and white the world of light. The koru is a symbol of eternal growth.

On 14 December 2009, Prime Minister John Key confirmed that the NZMF would fly alongside the New Zealand flag, rather than replacing it, to recognize the Crown–Māori relationship. 

Further information on the flag can be found on the Ministry for Culture and Heritage website.

What the NZMF means to Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council

Just as the New Zealand flag means different things for different people, we acknowledge the NZMF may also hold different meanings for individuals. We do not endorse one perspective over another, but instead view the NZMF as a way to recognise the status of Māori as tangata whenua.

The Treaty principles and the partnership upon which it is founded are an established part of our local government framework. Collectively, Māori contribute significantly to the region through cultural leadership, ownership of notable assets, economic investment initiatives, participation in co-governance arrangements with councils, and a growing influence in natural resource management.

We are focused on continuing to work collaboratively with Māori, as key contributors to strategic direction and leadership in the region.

Flag Protocols:

Councils approach to flying flags accords strictly with the requirements of the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981 and with central govern guidance on flying other flags (like our Regional Council banner) alongside the NZ national flag.

The NZMF currently flies atop the Tauranga and Whakatāne Council buildings.  Rotorua Office does not currently have a flag pole, staff are exploring options.

tauranga office flags
Tauranga office.

whakatane office flags
Whakatāne Office.