Plan change proposed for Sites of Significance to Mana Whenua

Media Release

Auckland Council’s Planning Committee is to consider approving engagement with mana whenua and landowners on approximately 270 new Sites and Places of Significance to Mana Whenua as the next step in developing a plan change.

On Tuesday, the committee will consider a report on the development of a plan change to the Auckland Unitary Plan and the Auckland Council District Plan (Hauraki and Gulf Islands Section).

Councillor Chris Darby, Chair of the Planning Committee, says the sites have been nominated by mana whenua because of their cultural and historical importance.

“This follows close collaboration between the council’s heritage team and 19 mana whenua groups since 2014 on improving the protection of Māori cultural heritage in Auckland.

“Existing planning rules arguably do not adequately protect these sites.

“As strongly committed as we are to cherishing and protecting Auckland’s built heritage, we are equally determined to preserve our natural and cultural heritage as part of what defines us and makes our city unique.

“Whether that is the natural beauty of our maunga or a cultural site of significance like Te Reuroa – a former pā site also known to Aucklanders as Albert Park,” says Councillor Darby.

In its recommendations on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, accepted by Auckland Council, the Independent Hearings Panel supported including rules to protect Sites and Places of Significance to Mana Whenua where there was sufficient information.

The Panel, however, did not recommend including rules for the associated category of Sites and Places of Value to Mana Whenua, of which there were 3600 in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. The council accepted this recommendation in August 2016 and these sites were subsequently removed from the Auckland Unitary Plan.

Currently the Auckland Unitary Plan contains 75 Sites and Places of Significance to Mana Whenua, 46 of these rolled over from the plans of the former council’s and 29 recommended for inclusion in the Auckland Unitary Plan by the Independent Hearings Panel.

“Before a plan change is drafted the first step is to engage with mana whenua and landowners on the sites themselves and the nature of any planning rules. There is also further detailed work to be done to collate archaeological and historical information for the nominated sites.

“Once completed the proposed plan change will then be developed for further consideration,” says Councillor Darby.

More information can be found in item 17 of the Planning Committee agenda on the Auckland Council website.