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Toward A Low Impact Development Future

August 13, 2004

Urban Ngati Whatua And Landcare Work Toward A Low Impact Development Future

The Ngati Whatua o Orakei Maori Trust Board is working with Landcare Research to protect and restore resources in the urban tribal rohe, or boundaries, in Auckland.

Heritage and Resource Manager for Ngati Whatua o Orakei, Ngarimu Blair, says the programme has exciting applications for his iwi.

"Our people have borne witness to extensive pollution in our rohe. With continued population growth, we need to find innovative techniques to convince councils and developers to reduce their impacts on our harbours, sacred sites and communities," he says.

"Landcare Research's Low Impact Urban Design and Development research programme (LIUDD) investigates low impact approaches to urban development. It aims to demonstrate cost-effective methods to treat stormwater, protect soils and restore native flora and fauna - methods that are largely being ignored in the region."

Since 1991 and the settlement of their Treaty claim on the 700 acre Orakei Block, plus the purchase of the former railway yards site in 1994, Ngati Whatua have once again emerged as active participants in Auckland's economy and the property market. As the iwi continues its renaissance it sees itself in the future as innovative developers delivering high quality, low impact developments, according to Blair.

"Customary values such as kaitiakitanga, or guardianship, can be readily included as part of design processes adding value and a point of difference. Having been here (in Tamaki) 1000 years, we obviously have a vested interest in protecting our environment here. We want to ensure these values are retained for those who follow."

Landcare Research scientists are also helping Ngati Whatua refine their 40-acre bush restoration programme at Bastion Point. Landcare Research Science Manager for Urban Environmental Management, Dr Charles Eason, says this is a logical move for Landcare Research, given the urban location and large scale.

"We also wanted to move beyond typical consultation with Maori that is sometimes viewed with cynicism in the resource management arena and develop a practical relationship with real outcomes for both parties," says Dr Eason.

"These outcomes will eventually include improved invasive weed management techniques, reduced flooding and cliff erosion, and a monitoring system to track the growth of plants and bird numbers."


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