An "oversight" in the Hastings district plan has been corrected, meaning new marae will be permitted in the rural and plains production zoned land areas.
On Monday, a Hastings District Council hearing decided marae would be a complying activity on rural and plains production zoned land.
Hastings district councillor Bayden Barber said making the plan change gets rid of barriers for marae that are wanting to develop and relocate or new marae construction on rural and plains production zoned land.
"The Heretaunga Plains are where our people lived.
It is a reinstatement for marae, which were provided for in the 2003 district plan but due to an "oversight" in the district plan process were, until Monday's decision, non-complying in these zoned land areas.
In the 2013 district plan review, places of assembly, which marae fell into, were taken out of the rural and plains production zones as permitted activitiies.
The Heretaunga Plains Urban Development Strategy recommended that the council remove the provision allowing for places of assembly as a permitted activity in these zones due to a number of activities such as large church facilities relocating to plains production land and "taking up valuable soils", a Hastings District Council spokesperson said.
"This meant that because of this alteration to the district plan marae inadvertently became non-complying as well, which was not the intention."
The already 24 established marae in the district are permitted established activities but the new plan change will allow mean new marae are permitted and are no longer a non-complying activity.
There are no changes to papakāinga housing, where consent is granted subject to conditions relating to development and servicing issues.
"All existing marae are on the outskirts of town, they are kind of on fertile soils but that's okay because that's their traditional whenua, that's the lands that have belonged to our people," Barber said.
"I don't see it as a problem, historically we don't often get pages full of marae wanting to develop, it's not like it's a huge burden on the plains zoned land."
However, Save Our Plains, a group with advocates for the protection of the region's fertile soils, say they are against any development on "highly productive soils" in the Heretaunga Plains.
Group spokesman Richard Gaddum said the group was not against marae being built, "that is a good thing", but their preference is that any new marae being planned consider where they could be built.
"If Māori are willing, we would love to sit down and engage with them on this issue."
He said papakāinga housing "is a good thing", a "huge success" and he believes to date "considerable thought is being given to where they are developed".
"As for Hastings District Council giving consent to non-complying activities, this is happening in far too many instances, especially with commercial developments on the plains production zone.
"Conversely they are blocking urban development on unproductive soils on the same plains production zone.
"This to us is counterproductive to growing our region and must stop."
Barber said there have been marae looking to build and develop prior to the plan change, but "have probably been hindered somewhat by the previous ruling".
The meeting agenda report attachment states that there are plans for a potential new marae complex on Waipuka Māori Reservation Trust Land on Waitangi Rd in Waimārama.
Barber said this marae had been a long-term aspiration for whānau.
There are also marae groups looking at further development, he said.