Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Archaeologists oppose rule to consult iwi

Group says Historic Places Act covers sites.

Otuataua Stonefields Historical Reserve. File photo / APN
Otuataua Stonefields Historical Reserve. File photo / APN

Archaeologists are the latest group to weigh into a controversial iwi consultation rule, saying most of the thousands of affected sites have not been evaluated.

The New Zealand Archaeological Association says the rule requiring owners to obtain a cultural impact assessment from iwi to work on their land will impose considerable costs and erode public support for archaeology.

The association recognises the cultural importance of Maori archaeological sites to mana whenua and believes mana whenua should be involved in the management of these sites.

But in a submission on the draft Unitary Plan, signed by association president Simon Bickler, the association has serious concerns, saying most of the 3661 sites of significance and value to mana whenua have not been assessed, many have limited archaeological significance, many have already been destroyed and protection rules already exist under the Historic Places Act.

It wants the rule dropped and replaced by a "non-statutory" alert layer of recorded archaeological sites to trigger requests for archaeological and cultural impact statements.

The rule is polarising interested groups and politicians, with the council, Maori Statutory Board and Maori Party pushing for its inclusion in the Unitary Plan.

New Zealand First, Labour Maori Affairs spokesman Shane Jones and others want the rule scrapped.

Iwi consultation

* Auckland Council
* Independent Maori Statutory Board
* Ngati Whatua
* Maori Party
* New Zealand First
* Labour Maori Affairs spokesman Shane Jones
* Law Professor Ken Palmer
* New Zealand Archaeological Association
* Employers and Manufacturers Association
On sidelines
* National.

- NZ Herald

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