Draft Auckland Unitary Plan Feedback from an Auckland Ratepayer and Resident
To whom it may concern,
I write concerning the Draft Auckland Unitary Plan (“D-AUP”) as it relates to policy concerning Maori and Mana Whenua [The people of the land who have mana or customary authority – their historical, cultural and genealogical heritage are attached to the land and sea].
Specifically, I am concerned about the Maori racial supremacy bias that Auckland Council is attempting to embed permanently into its public policy through D-AUP via Treaty of Waitangi-related clauses of legislation such as the Resource Management Act and various court decisions, and through additional political decisions Auckland Council has made off its own bat.
This bias is particularly evident around, but not limited to, issues concerning D-AUP 22.214.171.124 Sites of significance to Mana Whenua, of which more further below, but can be found in other areas such as the reification of the Maori Stone Age animist superstition of mauri [Life force] as an objective concept for public policy.
We can follow the primrose path of the racist bias that threads its way through Auckland Council’s D-AUP’s various sections relating to Maori and Mana Whenua and terminates in the cash out terms and conditions of Mana Whenua sites of significance.
Clause 1.2 Mana Whenua recognises no fewer than 19 iwi authorities in Auckland, who are identified in clause 2.5 Addressing issues of significance to Mana Whenua as the intended beneficiaries of Auckland Council’s policy of racial discrimination in favour of Mana Whenua.
Clause 1.2 also reveals that Auckland Council is not merely seeking to conform with Treaty-related law but has additionally decided to go far beyond what is legally required in order to innovate and pioneer an entirely new position of Maori racial dominance in public policy:
As treaty claims are settled, Auckland will move into a new phase where Mana Whenua aspirations are clearly articulated and empowered. This creates an opportunity to develop a new approach to resource management where Mana Whenua are directly involved in the resource management process, and where tikanga [Customary lore and practice, Maori protocols] and matauranga Maori [Maori knowledge] shape resource management decisions…
The Unitary Plan has an important role in helping decision-makers to expand their perspective to include tikanga that are significant to Mana Whenua and have a bearing on resource management. The Unitary Plan will provide clear direction that tikanga must be properly considered in relation to any activity within the rohe [Region, district or area].
Thus Auckland Council proposes to subject resource management decisions to Maori dictates in a way that has not been done before in Auckland and clearly exceeds existing legal requirements despite the word play in D-AUP calculated to make matters seem otherwise and altogether legally inevitable.
The Unitary Plan thereby is admitted in D-AUP to be an instrument for 19 iwi authorities to impose their own artful, cunning, pliable, anachronistic, superstitious, unscientific, unverifiable, self-serving, rent-seeking and at times simply invented lore, practices and protocols, or tikanga, to suit their own best advantagement and exigencies versus all the other residents and ratepayers of Auckland.
Auckland Council has elected, it seems, to go beyond meeting its legal obligations in order to stray into ideologically-driven excesses that facilitate and pander to the desire of Mana Whenua to dominate, control, influence, direct and profit from the lives of other Aucklanders.
Aucklanders should be very clear about Auckland Council’s commitment to appeasing Mana Whenua: this appeasement policy is primarily based on political decisions and only secondarily based on compliance with the law.
Following on from Clause 1.2, clause 2.5 Addressing issues of significance to Mana Whenua decrees that:
Mana Whenua can exercise Tino Rangatiratanga [self-determination*] and Mana Motuhake [An individual’s authority to determine his/her own destiny, self-determination] through participation in resource management processes and decisions.
The thrust of this statement is towards the co-sovereignty Treaty partnership doctrine that acquisitive and domineering Maori tribes and a sympathetic activist judiciary have been keen to foist on Parliament but for which there is no justifiable place in the Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan or for Aucklanders to have to put up with.
The 19 iwi authorities, not content with lucrative full and final Treaty settlements rolling through, are additionally to be uniquely empowered by Auckland Council to act in quasi-sovereign ways via the Unitary Plan, and this cannot be what most Aucklanders would find acceptable from their local authority that is meant to represent them equally and democratically in an unbiased way.
Clause 2.5.1 Recognition of Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnerships and participation lays the foundation for what will follow in the Mana Whenua places of significance rort by making Mana Whenua unaccountable to anyone else in Auckland in stating under Policies that D-AUP, “recognises the role of kaumatua [One who holds knowledge of tikanga and reo Maori and is recognised by hapu, iwi or organisation] and pukenga [specialist, expert*]” and “recognises Mana Whenua as specialists in the tikanga of their hapu or iwi and as being best placed to convey their relationship with their ancestral lands, water, sites, wahi tapu [Sacred ancestral sites and places of significance to iwi, hapu or whanau] and taonga [A treasured item. It can be tangible or intangible]”.
Clause 2.5.4 Protection of Mana Whenua culture and heritage leads further into laying the snare of sites of significance to Mana Whenua, where it states:
4. The knowledge base of Maori cultural heritage in Auckland continues to be developed, giving priority to areas where there is a higher level of threat to the loss or degradation of areas, features or sites of significance to Mana Whenua.
1. Council will work with Mana Whenua to develop a methodology for identifying, researching and assessing areas, features and sites of significance to Mana Whenua that will be nominated for scheduling.
2. Council and Mana Whenua will identify and record Maori cultural heritage values associated with the Maori cultural landscape by:
a. developing and using an agreed methodology to identify, record and assess, map and protect Maori cultural heritage in accordance with the aspirations of Mana Whenua iwi and hapu
b. identifying and recording Maori cultural and spiritual values associated with landscapes and features within a spatial context in accordance with tikanga and matauranga Maori.
Thus Auckland Council commits ratepayers’ resources to compiling lists of sites that Mana Whenua – in reality 19 iwi authorities and their subdivisions – want to claim as special to themselves according to their own political policy-privileged desires.
Clause 2.5.4 Policies then gives a long list of Maori phrases and translations for a comprehensive wishlist of supposedly special places and resources:
5. Identify and protect the values of areas, features and sites of significance to Mana Whenua using one or more of the following criteria:
Ko te mauri me te mana o te waahi, te taonga ranei, e ngakaunuitia ana e te Mana Whenua
The mauri (life force and life-supporting capacity) and mana (integrity) of the place or resource holds special significance to Mana Whenua.
b. Wahi tapu
Ko tera wahi, taonga ranei he waahi tapu, ara, he tino whakahirahira ki nga tikanga, ki nga puri mahara, o nga wairua a te Mana Whenua
The place or resource is a waahi tapu of special, cultural, historic, metaphysical and or spiritual importance to Mana Whenua.
c. Korero Tuturu/historical
Ko tera waahi e ngakaunuitia ana e te Mana Whenua ki roto i ona korero tuturu
The place has special historical and cultural significance to Mana Whenua.
d. Rawa Tuturu/customary resources
He waahi tera e kawea ai nga rawa tuturu a te Mana Whenua
The place provides important customary resources for Mana Whenua.
e. Hiahiatanga Tuturu/customary needs
He waahi tera e eke ai nga hiahia hinengaro tuturu a te Mana Whenua
The place or resource is a venue or repository for Mana Whenua cultural and spiritual values.
f. Whakaaronui o te Wa/contemporary esteem
He waahi rongonui tera ki nga Mana Whenua, ara, he whakaahuru, he whakawaihanga, me te tuku matauranga
The place has special amenity, architectural or educational significance to Mana Whenua.
This astonishing list can be twisted to mean just about anything Mana Whenua’s 19 iwi authorities and their tribal subdivisions want it to mean, and significantly in item (f) can include items of “contemporary esteem”, which smacks of the ever-expanding elasticity of the “living document” doctrine concerning the Treaty of Waitangi.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given what has gone before, the explanation section of clause 2.5.4 states:
The knowledge base of information surrounding Maori cultural heritage is continually developing and tools that provide a form of protection and inform subdivision, use and development are increasingly valuable. Recognition is also given to the right of Mana Whenua to choose not to identify or schedule areas, features or sites of significance or special value.
The first sentence quoted above points to the cash out value of where the doctrine of Mana Whenua significant sites is leading: land subdivision, use and development.
The second sentence quoted enables Mana Whenua to keep plenty of potential sites of significance up their sleeves for future revelation as opportunities arise to profit from them.
The next step in D-AUP is to widen the dragnet for those authorised to declare sites of significance:
6. Recognise that Mana Whenua are specialists in determining their values and associations with areas, features or sites of significance.
7. Recognise that areas, features or sites of significance to Mana Whenua may be significant to whanau, hapu or iwi.
The impact of these two clauses is to extend and amplify clause 2.5.1 such that even the smallest group subdivisions of the 19 iwi authorities can get in on the act of specifying places of significance and that these entities are a law unto themselves in deciding what should influence Auckland Council policy and decisions, in particular under the Resource Management Act.
More sinister still is:
8. Recognise that some information surrounding the values and associations of a feature may be sensitive and put an area, feature or site at risk of destruction or degradation, meaning it may not be appropriate to make it public.
Auckland Council should not be permitting itself to become involved in keeping secret information from the public concerning why particular places become significant for Mana Whenua to the extent that this alleged significance activates the Auckland Unitary Plan’s provisions.
As will be seen below, there are potential costs to Aucklanders from sites of significance to Mana Whenua, and accordingly Aucklanders have a right to know why Auckland Council uses their resources to make particular sites officially significant at the behest of Mana Whenua.
The “risk of destruction or degradation” is likely a red herring, because the odds are high that in many cases the reasons given by Mana Whenua for a site to be significant will be outrageous, preposterous, ridiculous, self-serving and rent-seeking.
A previous example of what might be expected arose when in June, 2011, Maori Statutory Board member GlennWilcox asked Auckland Council's transport committee "What's being done about the taniwha Horotiu who lives just outside here, and that tunnel will be going right through his rohe?"
It is that sort of Stone Age revivalist drivel that will need to be kept secret from the public if Auckland Council and Mana Whenua are to get away with the intended scale and extent of the significant sites policy.
An apparently innocuous statement in clause 3.1.2 Policies 12 will be revealed to have critical significance under clause 3.1.3 Information management:
12. Recognise that information may be held in various forms and may be in Te Reo Maori in accordance with the tikanga of the iwi or hapu.
Once again, Auckland Council attempts to use the smokescreen of compliance with the law, when in explanation of the foregoing farrago of Clause 2.5.4 nonsense it states:
“Council has a statutory responsibility, through Part 2 of the RMA, to protect Maori cultural heritage from inappropriate subdivision, use and development. These policies also recognise this along with council’s responsibilities under the NZCPS (Objective 3, Policies 2 and 15) to employ a collaborative approach with Mana Whenua, working in accordance with tikanga to identify, assess, protect and manage Maori cultural landscapes and areas, features or sites of significance to Mana Whenua.”
It is quite apparent from comparing this deceptively bland statement of legal compliance with what has gone before in clause 2.5.4 that Auckland Council is going far beyond simply meeting its legal obligations with its Mana Whenua policies in D-AUP, but is trying to cover up and smooth over the extent of its deviation.
On to clause 3.1.2, where the true grandiose scale and extent of the Mana Whenua significant sites policy begins to be revealed:
Where sufficient information exists on the location and values of sites, the Unitary Plan can afford protection through scheduling of sites through the Sites of Significance to Mana Whenua overlay. Scheduling offers the greatest protection through the Unitary Plan, as a significant amount of research is required to provide a robust basis for scheduling these sites.
Despite a large number of Mana Whenua groups having a strong association with the Auckland area, within Auckland very few sites have been scheduled. The lack of scheduling may be due to a number of reasons including the sensitivity of the information surrounding the protection of the site, and the reluctance of Mana Whenua to make this information available in a public document.
There are thousands of areas, features and sites within Auckland where there is a high likelihood of Maori cultural heritage being discovered or affected. It is important that there are robust processes to ensure that the values associated with areas, features and sites that are not scheduled are also appropriately recognised and managed.
“Mana Whenua have the right to choose not to identify places or values of historic, cultural or spiritual significance or special value. Further work will be undertaken with Mana Whenua to formally review and consider the most appropriate method to protect these areas, features and sites to achieve Mana Whenua aspirations.”
Accordingly, Auckland Council will work with Mana Whenua not just on formally scheduled sites of significance, but on secret sites as well, and of course, these unidentified places of significance can be identified – or invented – whenever it suits Mana Whenua.
And further still:
“Maori cultural landscapes (areas of significance to Mana Whenua)
Maori cultural heritage extends beyond individual sites of significance and includes wider ‘areas’ of historic occupation, where Mana Whenua values and associations with the landscape are reflected through landmarks, place names, portages, areas of seasonal occupation and historical transport routes that are also of importance to Mana Whenua.
Mana Whenua liken their cultural landscape to their cultural footprint/tapuwae – which is of Maori cultural heritage in its own right. It is not site-specific; rather it is the context of the landscape, the volcanic maunga fields, and the numerous waterways and tributaries overlaid by layers of Maori history. Maori cultural landscapes provide the context and identify relationships within which areas, features and sites of significance to Mana Whenua exist, recognising that sites do not exist in isolation. It is important that Mana Whenua values and associations present in the landscape are retained so that future generations can pass on traditional skills and knowledge. In some cases, protection is appropriate for areas, features and sites that are important to the wider Maori community and not specifically for their significance to Mana Whenua.”
Thus Auckland Council widens the scope from sites of significance – potentially thousands of them – to whole areas of significance, and the relevance not just to Mana Whenua, but to Maori in general.
The dubious quality of information that would justify claiming the genuine existence of Mana Whenua sites of significance is exposed in the following passage from clause 3.1.2:
Maori knowledge is traditionally passed down orally from one generation to the next. Tohunga [Expert, specialist] and kaumatua are repositories of knowledge and are highly regarded for their knowledge of the spiritual and physical realms. These customs are still commonplace in Maori culture and it is important that sensitive information is managed in accordance with protocols that have been agreed with Mana Whenua.
At this point, it is reasonable for Aucklanders to think that the D-AUP represents pure madness, in that the entire edifice of Mana Whenua claims over sites and areas of significance turns out to be founded not on objective science or empirical facts but on the say-so of unaccountable tohunga and kaumatua concerning spiritual and physical realms, and in accordance with rules set down by the 19 iwi authorities of Manawa Whenua, but there is even more to come in D-AUP.
Sooner or later there has to be a cash out value to Mana Whenua from this effective carpet bombing of the Auckland region with actual or potential, real or imagined, and spiritual, physical or metaphysical sites of significance.
We already know from clause 2.5.4 that land subdivision, use and development in Auckland is the true target.
Clause 3.1.2 ends in a crescendo with a detailed roll call for legalised looting of Aucklanders that is worth quoting in full:
1. The relationship of Mana Whenua with their unscheduled areas, features and sites of significance is recognised and provided for. 2. The tangible and intangible values and associations of Mana Whenua with their cultural landscapes and Maori cultural heritage are recognised, protected and enhanced.
1. The council and Mana Whenua will:
a) develop a methodology for recognising, enhancing and protecting Maori cultural landscapes, giving priority to the coastal environment and areas where there is a higher level of threat to the loss or degradation of areas, features or sites of significance to Mana Whenua
b) identify areas of known Maori cultural heritage in the Maori cultural heritage alert layer for guidance on matters to be considered in preparing resource consents, assessment and regulatory decision-making.
2. Require a cultural impact assessment where:
a) development is proposed in an identified Maori cultural landscape
b) Maori cultural heritage is present or there is high likelihood of Maori cultural heritage being present.
3. Manage the impact on areas, features or sites of significance to Mana Whenua that are discovered during development or land use by:
a) requiring a protocol for the accidental discovery of koiwi, archaeology and artefacts of Maori origin
b) undertaking appropriate actions in accordance with matauranga and tikanga Maori
c) undertaking appropriate measures to avoid adverse effects. Where adverse effects cannot be avoided, they are remedied or mitigated.
4. Protect Maori cultural heritage and enhance the relationship of Mana Whenua with their areas, features or sites of significance by requiring subdivision, use and development to:
a) avoid adverse effects on the values of areas, features and sites of significance to Mana Whenua
b) mitigate, where avoidance is not practicable, the effects in a way that reflects the scale of the effects on those values
c) incorporate the outcomes of consultation with Mana Whenua and articulated in iwi planning documents
d) incorporate matauranga, tikanga and Mana Whenua values, including spiritual values
5. In determining the type and extent of mitigation, consider the relationship of the site of significance with its surrounds, through the incorporation of:
a) the design of proposed structures
b) landscaping and vegetation including removal and replanting
c) landform modification.
The above list taken from the D-AUP can justly be interpreted as a license to loot Aucklanders, especially when aligned with 2.5.4 Policies 5 above, the bizarre wishlist, replete with mystical mumbo jumbo, of what constitutes the reasons for declaring a site to have Mana Whenua significance, and the Information management section of clause 3.1.2.
It is, of course, subdivision, use and development with all its potentially remunerative opportunities that would most attract claims of significant sites for Mana Whenua , whether publicly scheduled or secretly agreed with Auckland Council, and here the D-AUP does not let Mana Whenua down.
Thus we come to the main point and purpose of the Mana Whenua sites of significance doctrine when we reach, under 3.3 Overlay objectives and policies Clause 3.3.5 Mana Whenua.
The critical passage, prepared by all that has gone before in the passages analysed above and others not included here is clause 126.96.36.199 Sites of significance to Mana Whenua.
Of the overlay Sites of significance to Mana Whenua we learn:
“The Sites of significance to Mana Whenua overlay identifies areas, features and sites that have been scheduled and protected for their Maori values. Where there is sensitive information regarding the significance of the sites special protocols agreed with Mana Whenua will outline the management of this information.
“Mana Whenua are aware of many other areas, features and sites that may be equally or more significant, and acknowledge there may be shared interests over scheduled locations. It is intended to identify further areas, features and sites nominated by Mana Whenua through future plan changes including those identified through other legislation.”
The “many other areas, features and sites that may be equally or more significant” have already been elsewhere quantified in clause 3.1.2 which states, “There are thousands of areas, features and sites within Auckland where there is a high likelihood of Maori cultural heritage being discovered or affected.”
Once more, it is worth quoting in full what lies in wait for Aucklanders under the pernicious doctrine of Mana Whenua sites of significance, which are supposed to exist across Auckland in their thousands:
1. The tangible and intangible values of scheduled sites and features of significance to Mana Whenua are protected and enhanced.
1. Avoid adverse effects on the values of scheduled areas, features and sites of significance to Mana Whenua.
2. Require subdivision, use and development to:
a) enhance the values of the area, feature or site of significance and the relationship of Mana Whenua with their taonga, commensurate with the scale and nature of the planning application
b) incorporate matauranga, tikanga and Mana Whenua values, including spiritual values
c) incorporate the outcomes articulated by Mana Whenua through consultation and within iwi planning documents
d) demonstrate consideration of practicable alternative methods, locations or designs which would avoid or reduce the impact on the values of sites of significance to Mana Whenua
e) include mitigation that is compatible with Mana Whenua values and is commensurate with the extent of the effects
f) encourage preservation of the area, feature or site and its values
g) demonstrate consideration of practical mechanisms to maintain or enhance the ability to access and use the area, feature, site for karakia [A ritual recitation often used to open and close meetings], monitoring, customary purposes and ahika roa [burning fires of occupation – title to land through occupation by a group, generally over a long period of time. The group is able, through the use of whakapapa, to trace back to primary ancestors who lived on the land*] by Mana Whenua
i. excavation or earthworks near a scheduled site
ii. the use of areas, features and sites of significance to Mana Whenua for infrastructure.
3. Demonstrate a proposed construction methodology that includes:
a) the location of equipment and construction materials including soil and vegetation
b) the duration and timing of works.
4. Reflect the relationship of the site of significance with its surrounds through the incorporation of:
a) the design of proposed structures
b) landscaping and vegetation including removal and replanting
c) landform modification
d) maintenance of view shafts to and between sites of significance to Mana Whenua.
5. Whether the proposed activity is appropriate considering the nature of the site of significance and the associated values.
6. Manage subdivision so that areas, features or sites of significance to Mana Whenua are not split into multiple land parcels.
With clause 188.8.131.52 we come to the culmination of Auckland Council’s labours in the service of Maori racial supremacy through clauses 1.2, 2.5, 3.1 and their subclauses.
When the scattered D-AUP Mana Whenua clauses related to sites of significance are strung together in sequence, as has been done above, it becomes all too apparent how unworkable Auckland Council has made the D-AUP in the cause of its innovations, appeasements and overcompensations granted to Mana Whenua, whom it admits are in the process of receiving all their Treaty settlements.
Once these settlements are made, Mana Whenua could just get on with life like anybody else in Auckland, but apparently this would sell them short, especially when Auckland Council is eager to grant to Mana Whenua ownership of a veritable Auckland-wide industry dedicated to ticket-clipping, rent-seeking, danegelding and legalised corruption, imposed on land developers, occupiers, residents and ratepayers under the guise of iwi consultation and involvement over sites of significance.
It is nothing short of appalling and unconscionable that Auckland Council could advance Maori racial supremacy policies that, if implemented through the Auckland Unitary Plan, would lead inevitably to insecurity of property ownership all over Auckland, with lack of natural justice, any right of appeal, or any other legal redress for Aucklanders who were not Mana Whenua.
There is more that is bad and indeed outright evil in D-AUP relating to racist promotion of Mana Whenua over other Auckland residents and ratepayers.
For example, D-AUP 2.5.2 leads into mysticism when it claims to bind the Unitary Plan in respect of the natural environment with the amorphous and irrational superstition of mauri, an antiquated relic of Maori animism that is of no use or relevance in the scientific management of natural resources.
Much of D-AUP as it pertains to Maori and Mana Whenua is deceptive and misleading to the disdavantagement of all other Aucklanders.
In summary, Aucklanders can have no confidence in the D-AUP or Auckland Council when a racist agenda is being promoted to benefit Mana Whenua through legalised scams and corruption such as the policy of sites of significance to Mana Whenua represents, not to mention the confession of Auckland Council in D-AUP that it is going beyond strict legal obligations in innovating and pioneering policies that profit and privilege 19 iwi authorities and their members above all other Aucklanders.
Aucklanders rightly expect better from their local authority in that it should exercise good stewardship, act in good faith, respect equality and democracy, protect property ownership rights, and generally promote the best interests of all Aucklanders, and not just single out a racial minority for exclusive enjoyment of superior privilege, advancement, and unaccountable powers.
In fine, the entire Treaty of Waitangi, Maori, and Mana Whenua policy of Auckland Council as expressed in D-AUP is a disgrace, a shambles, and a force for insecurity of property ownership throughout Auckland.
This politicised policy must be withdrawn and rewritten such that it can be acceptable to Aucklanders taken as a whole, and not just pleasing to Mana Whenua, nor expedient for Auckland Council politicians and bureaucrats eager to appease, reward and curry favour with 19 local iwi authorities at the expense of all the other Aucklanders they are also bound to serve.
Note: English translations for Maori words used in quotations from D-AUP have been given in square brackets  and derived from D-AUP Definitions, Maori Terms, except for those marked with an asterisk*. Those marked with an asterisk* were not defined in D-AUP Definitions, Maori Terms and instead were quoted from the Maori Dictionary at www.maoridictionary.co.nz.
Michael CooteAuckland Resident and Ratepayer