The most effective way of incorporating Māori values into the planning process is by assisting and encouraging tangata whenua to develop their own plans and strategies for incorporation into all future planning documents. This could be acheived by iwi or hapū developing their own databases, a process that could be difficult given the present low level of resources for this kind of work. Alternatively, it could be achieved through local authorities building better alliances or partnerships with tangata whenua, with opportunities to share existing planning databases and information.
The value of iwi- and hapū-based information systems is that they could be linked not only to a national information base, but also to local authorities and the Department of Conservation (PCfE 1996). Obviously tangata whenua would need to have a certain amount of control, custodianship, and ongoing maintenance over what is, in many cases, their own information within a specific tribal area. Information property rights need to be fully discussed with tangata whenua before information is recorded or stored in any database, so that there is a mutual understanding of what information is required, where it is to be stored, who will have custodianship, and what is its intended end-use. The development of planning databases for iwi and hapū is seen as a positive way to increase Māori involvement in environmental planning and resource management at national, regional and local level. It also has application for increasing training, employment and educational opportunities.