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Te Mātai Ao

May E-Pānui

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The Establishment of Te Mātai Ao

Last year, Tamatea Pōkai Whenua Board endorsed the stand-up of a taiao hub called Te Mātai Ao. Te Mātai Ao is the single entity representing the Taiao interests of Heretaunga Tamatea within the takiwā. The collaborative approach to Taiao was supported by Heretaunga Tamatea hapū and marae, Te Taiwhenua o Tamatea and Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga to strengthen the position of Heretaunga Tamatea in the Taiao sector and to address the proliferation of costs and capacity across the three entities. Te Mātai Ao positions Heretaunga Tamatea to respond to the contextual and political changes underway in resource management and substantively create competency, capacity and capability to meet our Taiao responsibilities. 


Te Mātai Ao is governed by Tamatea Pōkai, Te Taiwhenua o Tamatea and Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga. Te Rūnanganui o Heretaunga and Te Mana Taiao o Tamatea, the two Taiao governance bodies established by the Taiwhenua, will now provide advice and direction to Te Mātai Ao on critical issues for Heretaunga Tamatea.

Naming of Te Mātai Ao
The naming of the Environmental Hub, Te Mātai Ao, was a proposal put forth by Tā TĪmoti Kāretu. Within Māori ideology, ‘Mātai’ conveys the essence of vigilance, keen observation, and mindfulness, while ‘Ao’ pertains to the realm of the world; Air, water, land and everything in it. Together, ‘Mātai Ao’ may be construed as evoking the imagery of an astute custodian, diligently surveying and safeguarding the entirety of the environment and its multifaceted components. 
Transport Rebuild East Coast
TREC was established as an alliance with Waka Kotahi and Kiwi Rail, alongside multiple Māori partners, businesses and contractors. This alliance has been set up to plan, organise and deliver much of the recovery and rebuild work needed on the highway and rail networks in Te Tairāwhiti and Te Matau a Māui due to the devastation caused by Cyclone Gabrielle. We are pleased to be working in this kaupapa to ensure our collective values and interests of Tamatea Pōkai Whenua are reflected as part of this mahi moving forward! Tē tōia, tē haumatia! Tamatea Pōkai Whenua have two representatives in the technical advisory group (TAG) representing Heretaunga Tamatea. 
General Manager Appointment
Dianne Smith has recently been appointed as the General Manager – Te Mātai Ao. A recent graduate from the Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato, University of Waikato, graduating with a Bachelor of Environmental Planning, Te Ara Taiao. This four-year specialist degree is accredited by the New Zealand Planning Institute, focusing on planning and environmental management. Dianne is currently the Chairperson of Mataweka Marae and a Board member of Te Taiwhenua o Tamatea. In her spare time, Di loves to travel, read, garden, and quality-time with her whānau. Ka want kē koe!
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Hastings + Napier
Future Development Strategy (FDS)
Hastings District Council, Napier City Council, and the HB Regional Council alongside Iwi and Hapū partners, are jointly developing the Hastings and Napier Future Development Strategy (FDS). The FDS guides development across existing urban and potential new areas, over the next 30 years. The FDS is a requirement of the Governments National Policy Statement – Urban Development. The strategy ensures development areas meet the projected residential and business needs, protects highly productive soils, protects freshwater and the natural environment and protects sites of significance to Māori. The strategy is also required to include a Statement of Hapū Values and Aspirations for future development. For more information about the FDS, click here.

Tamatea Pōkai Whenua has held three hui with members to provide information about the FDS and to seek member input on the development of the strategy. One final hui will take place on Monday, 24th June 2024 from 5.30pm - 7.30pm. Members will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the drafted strategy before it goes to Council for approval for public consultation in June. More information will be made available closer to the Hui. A Statement of Hapū Values and Aspirations has been drafted for Heretaunga and is available to view below. If you have feedback or suggestions for the drafted Statement, please send this to by 5 June 2024. Timeframes for the FDS have shifted slightly, affording more time for members and marae to input into the draft statement for Heretaunga.
Resource Management Act

The new National Coalition government has introduced a suite of changes to repeal the RMA replacements. An example of the most recent changes was the introduction of the Fast-track Approvals Bill. This essentially fast tracks decision making processes for infrastructure and development projects that are considered to have significant regional or national benefits. Public submissions closed recently (19 o Āpereira). There will be more changes to the RMA in the near future and so be prepared to submit your thoughts to ensure the protection of your values and our Taiao. To view the Tamatea Pōkai Whenua submission on the Fast Track Approvals bill click below.

Resource Consent Reports

The weekly reports of all resource consents received by our office are collated and sent to our database once a week. The Councils must provide notification to our office of all resource consents in and close to areas that are listed as ‘Statutory Acknowledgement areas’ and also whenua that we hold ‘Deeds of Recognition’ over. If a resource consent application presents an activity that will impact our cultural and environmental values, then we can query the application. Please contact me if you think that an application impacts those values. 


Click below to watch a video clip from Riki Ellson (Ngāi Tahu) discuss Te Mana o te Wai. Riki has been working alongside the HB Regional Council Māori committee membership at various times over the last couple of years.

Should you be interested, please use one of the buttons below to learn more on what is hapenning at Tamatea Pōkai Whenua!

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