Ngāi Tahu encourages public feedback on proposed Te Tai Poutini land classifications

May 27, 2022

Ngāi Tahu is encouraging New Zealanders to have their say on the proposed reclassification of more than 600,000 hectares of stewardship land on Te Tai Poutini (the West Coast).

A Ngāi Tahu mana whenua panel has been working with a national panel to assess and make recommendations on the future use of the whenua since November last year.

Minister of Conservation Kiritapu Allan has announced public feedback is being sought on the recommendations before the Government decides on the future of the land.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai says its important people living on Te Tai Poutini and the rest of the country share their feedback.

“This is a rare opportunity for all New Zealanders to consider the future use of the whenua and I encourage you to have your say,” she says.

Stewardship land makes up a large part of the Ngāi Tahu takiwā, and the reclassification process is of the upmost significance to Ngāi Tahu.

“The Ngāi Tahu mana whenua panel has worked closely with the national panel by providing information on mahinga kai, mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge), and our future aspirations for the use of the whenua. Conservation and wider community interests were also carefully considered by the mana whenua panel.”

Lisa Tumahai says the two panels worked hard to develop the most appropriate classifications for approximately 644,000 hectares of stewardship land.

“We’re pleased there are recommendations proposing classification for reserves that will recognise the mana and rangatiratanga of Ngāi Tahu, as well as the significance of the land for mana whenua.”

The largest proposed reserve would be known as Tarahanga e Toru Historic Reserve. This approximately 181,000 hectare area is of immense significance to Ngāi Tahu and includes three main pounamu trails.

“Tarahanga e Toru is at the heart of many Poutini Ngāi Tahu legends, customs, and traditions. These trails were lifelines for Poutini Ngāi Tahu and used as trading routes for pounamu and kai in times of peace and war.”

Three areas forming 140,000 hectares will be left as stewardship land while options are explored to appropriately recognise the significant values and interests present.

Where the two panels did not agree, each has made a separate recommendation. This includes proposed additions to National Parks.

“Ngāi Tahu and the mana whenua panel do not support expanding the National Parks within our takiwā. The National Parks Act restricts Ngāi Tahu from undertaking our kaitiaki rights and responsibilities, while limiting the meaningful involvement of Ngāi Tahu in decision making.”

Lisa Tumahai says its important Ngāi Tahu whānau also have their say on the future of the whenua as part of the public notification process.

“I encourage our wider whānau to consider the conservation value reports and recommendations that the mana whenua panel have worked on over the last six months,” says Lisa Tumahai.

The notification period will begin on Monday 30 May through the DOC website and will be open for 40 working days closing at 5.00pm on Tuesday 26 July.

Media contact:  [email protected]


Background information:

  • Conservation Values Reports and Recommendation Reports will be available on the DOC website.
  • Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae are known together as Poutini Ngāi Tahu.
  • Members of the mana whenua panel include (Chair) Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae Chair Francois Tumahai, Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio Chair Paul Madgwick, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu representative Gail Thompson, and Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura Cultural Pou Chair Maurice Manawatu.
  • The mana whenua panel members hold rangatiratanga over their rohe and their whakapapa links to the whenua are recognised.