Landscape Genomics

Adaptive Governance and Policy, the investment that “tackles the ways in which governance and policy need to change to better protect te taiao”, are celebrating the recent release of two documents that demonstrate the importance and value of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, tikanga and care-informed relationships. The one covered in this article is titled: Steps Towards Authentic Te Tiriti o Waitangi Relationships at a Local Government Level.

Steps Towards Authentic Te Tiriti o Waitangi Relationships at a Local Government Level is a summary of a research report commissioned by The Review into the Future for Local Government and draws on the expertise of a remarkable set of researchers.

The Review into the Future for Local Government describes itself as providing “an opportunity to create a new system of local governance and democracy that will effectively respond to a changing New Zealand and create conditions for communities to thrive.” Follow this link to view the final report released on June 21, 2023.

Numerous research reports were commissioned for the review, including those addressing five priority questions, one of which was tackled by Carwyn Jones and Maria Bargh (co-leads of Adaptive Governance and Policy), Dani Lucas (an alumni of Te Kawa a Māui), and Ellie Tapsell (Research Fellow at Te Kawa a Māui).

That question reads as follows:

How might a system of local governance embody authentic partnership under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, creating conditions for shared prosperity and wellbeing?

The writing of the report was a mammoth undertaking and the team wanted to make sure it had real world applications.

“It was a big task,” says Ellie Tapsell ( Te Arawa, Tainui, Irish, British, Scottish, Danish). “ “We wanted to keep our recommendations really practical because in our research we have come across lots of positive and really practical solutions. We wanted to offer actionable steps that will help move towards better Treaty relationships.”

The recommendations themselves were designed to fit along the pathways that already exist in policy and legislation.

“We were looking at what additional steps could fit [along those pathways] to ensure we’re heading towards a future where we have good Te Tiriti relationships and different constitutional relationships guiding us.”

Ellie Tapsell

“Relationships are fundamental within tikanga Māori and many of the recommendations came from experiences that either we’ve had personally or that people we know are dealing with as well as our research,” says Ellie.

“It comes back to councils needing to have processes in place to manage relationships better. Some of our recommendations were to have systems in place to future-proof relationships.”

The 14-page briefing includes a 2040 vision statement, detailed barriers, and fourteen recommendations. You can download the document here.

And here’s our story covering their other release this month, the document: Caring For Our Special Places and Relationships: Guidance on relational approaches to environmental governance in Aotearoa. For Policy and Decision Makers.

Kerry Donovan Brown

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