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Hōtaka Taonga Māori Tuku Iho

Māori Cultural Heritage Programme (MCHP)

​About the MCHP

The MCHP began in 2014. We initiated the programme and co-designed it in partnership with mana whenua.

Mana whenua exercises a key mandating and decision-making role to guide the MCHP.

We work in partnership with 19 mana whenua entities in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland to deliver the MCHP.

Purpose of the MCHP

The purpose of the MCHP is to improve the:

  • identification, mapping and protection of Māori cultural heritage in Tāmaki Makaurau
  • information we hold on sites and places of cultural and historic heritage importance to mana whenua.

What the MCHP will achieve

The MCHP recognises that there are thousands of Māori cultural heritage sites in Tāmaki Makaurau. Many of these are under threat or degraded.

We expect the MCHP to:

  • strengthen partnerships between mana whenua and Auckland Council
  • improve our and mana whenua's capacity to identify, manage and protect Māori heritage
  • improve the understanding of how sites of cultural importance to Māori contribute to the cultural landscapes
  • contribute to the achievement of the strategic directions of the Auckland Plan 2050.

We will explore partnerships with mana whenua to:

  • protect, identify and manage wāhi tapu
  • better participate in the co-management of natural resources
  • invest in our heritage.

Delivery of the MCHP will also contribute to our response to our Māori Outcomes Framework – Kia Ora te Ahurea / Māori Identity and Culture.

Read the report to find out more about the Māori Outcomes Framework

How we will achieve this

Under the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) we are required to identify, evaluate and protect sites and areas of significance to mana whenua.

Mana whenua retain enduring values and associations with their heritage. Its importance extends to Auckland's identity, narrative, amenity, sense of place and association.

We are working with both statutory (such as plan changes) and non-statutory mechanisms. This includes a range of management responses to protect Māori cultural heritage.

We designed and implemented the management responses in partnership with mana whenua.

The responses include:

  • introducing plan changes to provide scheduling protection for sites
  • recognising Māori cultural landscapes, and assessing options to establish a Māori cultural heritage alert layer
  • applying a range of non-statutory management responses
  • links to iwi management plans
  • supporting consenting processes to recognise Māori cultural heritage consistent with the AUP provisions.

Māori heritage sites

Māori heritage sites require assessment for the most appropriate management option. Some sites may be scheduled, or suitable for scheduling, in the AUP. Others will be managed by other methods.

Going forward we intend to establish a Māori cultural heritage status baseline. Monitoring and movement from this baseline will be captured annually.

We also intend to establish Māori cultural heritage asset conditions, particularly for scheduled sites. We will monitor these in partnership with mana whenua.

Find out more by reading the Auckland Unitary Plan Operative in part > Chapter L Schedules > Schedule 12 Sites and Places of Significance to Mana Whenua.

What is Māori cultural heritage

Māori cultural heritage is defined in this programme as 'immovable or place-based heritage of Māori origin or value'.

It includes sites (e.g. archaeology, lakes, wāhi tapu, resource areas), structures (e.g. marae), and landscapes (e.g. coastlines, valleys, resources).

Māori cultural heritage includes both natural heritage (e.g. forests) and anthropogenic heritage (e.g. archaeology). It can be tangible or intangible (e.g. artefacts and pā sites or spiritual associations and historical accounts). Mana whenua are the only party who can assign its Māori values.

Our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi

We administer a legislative and policy framework that requires active involvement in the protection and management of Māori heritage.

We are responsible for recognising and protecting the relationship of Māori, and their culture and traditions with their:

  • ancestral lands
  • water
  • sites (wāhi tapu)
  • wider protection of historic heritage
  • other taonga.

Māori heritage is a matter of national significance under the Resource Management Act 1991. It has been subject to major and sustained loss and degradation.

Mana whenua values and associations with their heritage is poorly understood within the wider public. The socio-political context of conserving Māori heritage on private land can present significant opportunities and challenges.