The Ngaati Whanaunga Environment Unit is tasked with the kaitiakitanga of the tribal rohe on behalf of the iwi. We seek to protect our whenua tupuna, moana waahi tapu and other taonga, from the effects of development and the many activities that take place within the rohe.
The Environment Unit has operated for twelve years. In all things it is guided by Ngaati Whanaunga tikanga, and is answerable to our people through the Incorporated Society, to which it reports monthly, and from which it takes direction.
Much of the Unit’s efforts are focused on resource consents processes, and influencing statutory plans, under the Resource Management Act 1991. We engage councils and private developers to try to prevent impacts on Ngaati Whanaunga ancestral lands and waters and significant places. We also monitor works to ensure no damage is done during earthworks.
The unit seeks to understand the views of our hapuu and of the hau kainga, the local whaanau, in relation to proposed activities. We try to involve them in planning processes or advocate on their behalf. In order to do this we try to identify which of our families are affected by proposed activities, talk with them, and either with them or on their behalf write Maaori Values Assessments (MVAs), and make formal submissions as part of resource consent applications and other planning processes.
Where we fail to secure protection of iwi values and interests the Environment Unit, supported by the Ngäti Whanaunga Incorporated Society, has lodged appeals or provided evidence before the Environment Court and other courts.
The Environment Unit works on a voluntary basis, but responding to these many statutory processes across our massive rohe places large demands on the iwi. We seek to be proactive in protecting iwi interests through involvement in Council and Crown plan drafting, revisions, and reviews, to ensure that plans provide us with effective tools with which to protect our values and interests. Where we have shared interests the Environment Unit works alongside other Marutuahu and Hauraki iwi. We also sometimes combine efforts with community groups, and on some occasions work with environmental organisations such as the Environmental Defence Society and NZ Forest and Bird.
We are here to assist Ngaati Whanaunga people with environmental issues. We also welcome contact with any of our people who work, or want to work, in environmental fields.