The Rotorua District Council has released its proposed District Plan for consultation. The plan is the Rotorua district's most important land use document, regulating everything from zoning to new buildings and activities. The Daily Post council and city issues reporter Matthew Martin takes a close look at some of the plan's important features in a series of articles.
Rotorua's new proposed district plan has a chapter dedicated to the interests of local Maori.
Chapter three, Iwi Cultural Heritage and Economic Resources, recognises the special relationship tangata whenua have with their ancestral land, with a focus on the impact of development on sites of cultural significance and development on Maori-owned land.
The council's planning services manager, Liam Dagg, said a significant proportion of the district's population were Maori. "The district plan recognises this special relationship and allows for the protection of significant cultural and historical sites that are waahi tapu or taonga. It also provides for marae in the area.
"The principle of kaitiakatanga guides the district plan to ensure the stewardship of our district for future generations," Mr Dagg said.
Taheke 8C Trust general manager Sandra Eru said the trust was keen to continue its consultation with council. "Taheke 8C participated in the process by making submissions on the draft document. There is a lot of work to do in a short space of time but we will be participating further.
"To a degree, the interests of Maori and our resources have been recognised. There is provision for future growth within the rural areas of the district, which is where much of the Maori land remains. There remains a concern that Maori land has been undeveloped and should remain so to provide a rural backdrop for the benefit of others.
"There appears to be a focus on planning for a traditional, almost pre-European, settlement image of Maori rather than a contemporary view of Maori as an emerging economic power with aspirations beyond the traditional," she said.
To view the proposed District Plan visit www.rdc.govt.nz, or view a hard copy at the council's customer centre, or the library. Submissions can be made online at the council's website, emailed to email@example.com, or posted to the Planning Services Manager, RDC, Private Bag 3029, Rotorua. A District Plan public open day is on at Te Runanga Tearooms, Government Gardens, tomorrow, from 9am to 5pm. Submissions close on March 1.