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Through our research we have outlined how Māori values can inform and be integrated into all aspects of policy and planning for freshwater management.

Our Policy Brief 7, outlines 6 recommended steps for integrating mātauranga Māori into freshwater management. We have also developed Mātauranga Māori and Māori perspectives (Harmsworth & Awatere, 2013) for ecosystems and decision-making which includes those for freshwater management. Our research has assisted the development of iwi environmental management plans by Te Uri o Hau; Kaipara and Rangitāne o Manawatū (Manawatū River) and uptake of cultural monitoring.

The current research focuses on Māori values in collaborative decision making. Our Policy Brief 10 recommends Māori be invited to exercise the co-governance role of Treaty of Waitangi partner by joining the council as co-sponsor of the process. It also cautions that Māori interests are not limited to “cultural values” and there may be situations when the collaborative processes will not always be the best way to take account of the Treaty’s principles. For a more in-depth discussion of these findings see Māori and collaborative freshwater planning: emerging insights.

The historical, contemporary and legislative context within which the current National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management sits, in particular, the role of the Treaty of Waitangi is outlined in a Landcare Research report and Policy Brief 14. The report and Policy Brief defines co-governance, co-management and collaborative planning and collates relevant case study information from around the country. The challenges that face both Māori and regional councils during these processes are discussed along with some solutions and tools that support both parties to achieve their agreed or desired outcomes for freshwater.

Planning processes can be enhanced to address Māori perspectives in planning and policy. For the Unitary Plan Team of Auckland Council we developed a framework for incorporating iwi/hapū perspectives, values, and aspirations into Auckland Council planning and policy under the unitary plan process.