Rooftop gardens, urban food forests and swimmable city waterways are all part of an Auckland iwi's plan to "mainstream" kaitiakitanga.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei's 2018 iwi management plan, Te Pou o te Kāhu Pōkere, lays out iwi objectives on land, air and water management within its rohe (tribal area).

The plan, presented to a meeting of Auckland Council's planning committee yesterday, involved embedding and "mainstreaming" kaitiakitanga, guardianship and conservation, into the council's planning and documents.

The plan was produced in partnership with Auckland Council, and was to be a "manual" on iwi interests for those working under the Resource Management Act.


Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust deputy chair Ngarimu Blair said they had worked with council staff on the plan to make it more relevant to how the council operated.

"The previous plan we did [in 2012] was probably left on a shelf, gathering dust. With this one we co-designed it with the council planners from start to finish to make it more meaningful.

"Our hope is our objectives around water quality, air quality, biodiversity, will become more widely known in council policy and projects."

Iwi and the council had been trying to "weave the two world views together", of kaitiakitanga and resource management, Blair said.

"We hope in designing this together we can go much further in achieving that.

"There is nothing in this plan we haven't been saying the last 150 years, nor since the Resource Management Act came into force [in 1991].

"At the heart is kaitiakitanga, sustainability, and thankfully this council and the world is moving towards that, which Māori and indigenous peoples around the world have been pushing for generations."

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei wanted to ensure all activities were "environmentally restorative and reflected their kaitiakitanga and guardianship roles in Tāmaki Makaurau".


"We acknowledge that in an urban landscape there is much to do to reverse the environmental and cultural degradation of our sacred sites, whenua, bio-diversity, waterways and air, done over nearly 200 years," the plan said.

The iwi has suggested a range of "creative and innovative" approaches to solving environmental challenges.

In addressing climate change, the iwi supported a shift to mass transit and low carbon transport including rail, bus, cycling and walking, better energy efficiency, and renewable electricity.

The iwi also wants to see greater biodiversity in the city.

New developments, open spaces, streets and public gardens, should increase native vegetation, and maximise ecological and indigenous biodiversity values.

This would include locally-sourced native species, food sources for native birds and habitats for native animals. Small developments could incorporate rooftop gardens or green walls. Some spaces could include kai (food) plants.

The iwi supported the council's 2040 zero-waste target, and wanted to see recycling facilities in all public spaces, all public events be zero-waste, and improved management of construction waste.

The iwi called for streams, rivers and the sea to be fit for swimming and gathering of kai.

Methods to improve the city's water quality included rain gardens and wetlands, riparian planting, restoration of natural stream morphologies, and sediment traps.

While the iwi accepted stormwater and wastewater management issues were difficult and expensive to remedy, it said they had been neglected for too long and needed to be given higher priority.

Blair said the plan would save time and resources.

"It means we don't have to fight project by project, ward by ward, board by board. Our objectives and values can be taken into account much earlier, and we can keep focused on the big issues."

Auckland Council general manager of plans and places John Duguid said the plan meant whenever the council looked at policy or RMA consents in the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei rohe, it had a good starting point.

The plan development had given the council a good chance to meet kanohi ki te kanohi, face to face, with iwi staff. Wider council staff would also receive training on how to implement the plan.

While there were consistencies with council policy in areas like transport, biodiversity and cultural sites, other areas, like completely stopping wastewater discharges, went further, Duguid said.

"Some areas the plan wants to take these things to another level, and this it the big opportunity for the council now to look at what we can practically do more on."