Whakapiri tātou, hei manaaki tangata, hei manaaki whenua. Effective governance for urban sustainability

Webster, Karen Lesley
Waring, Marilyn
Cheyne, Christine
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

This thesis examines the role of local government elected members to progress urban sustainability, and the views of Māori leaders’ on governance and sustainability. It is set within a wider context of local government reform and changing expectations of governance and captures a point in time in the evolution of Pākehā and Māori governance structures in Aotearoa New Zealand. The thesis contributes to the paucity of scholarship in these fields.

Local government has evolved from the early provincial legislatures, to acknowledge Te Tiriti o Waitangi and recognise the importance of sustainable development. The Local Government Act 2002 fundamentally changed the role and purpose of New Zealand local government. At the heart of both Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the LGA was the aspiration for community and Māori participation in local governance and progress towards sustainable development.

The ‘three-house concept’ described in the Raukawa Trustees partnership-two cultures development model (Winiata 2005) and the Community Sector Taskforce (2006) model is reflected in the structure of this thesis. It provides for a Pākehā House, a Tikanga Māori House and a Treaty House – a conceptual space where Māori and Pākehā values and practices can come together in mutual respect.

The Pākehā House of the thesis establishes a broader role for New Zealand elected members to promote urban sustainability by focusing on cross-sector collaboration and multi-level governance. While multi-level governing was found to be widespread across urban territorial authorities, an elected member focus on collaboration was notably absent.

Aotearoa New Zealand’s urban local authorities had begun mainstreaming sustainable development practices. Environmental management and restoration activity was widespread. Initiatives progressing social and cultural well-being were gaining prominence.

The Tikanga Māori House recognises that the LGA 2002 had failed to bring about transformation of Māori participation in local government. Where the Māori voice struggled to be heard, the Act’s discretionary provisions had tended to preserve the status quo.

Two paths to the future are offered: firstly, constitutional change - a new system of local government that recognises the validity of tino rangatiratanga as an equal authority, which could be modeled on the working examples of Treaty-based governance presented in this thesis.

Secondly, improvements to the current system of local government are recommended. They are:

  • Hui and whanaungatanga, as a path to consensus decision-making.
  • Iwi authorities be recognised as local authorities, to provide opportunities for urban Māori to participate in local government.
  • The status of iwi management plans be lifted, and they be mandatory in the way that a district plan is mandatory.
  • The mana whenua relationship be strengthened to increase the capacity of mana whenua to consult with tauiwi in their rohe, and exercise kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga.

These improvements need to be based on an effective parallel model of Māori representation, or Māori wards and seats.

The Treaty House presents a case for strengthening a partnerships approach to governance. The effective inclusion of both Pākehā and Māori communities alike is identified as a prerequisite for further progress towards urban sustainability in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Governance , Urban sustainability , Sutainable development , Elected member role , Māori , Phenomenology, mixed methods , Local government , Local governance; Councillor role; Indigenous; Te Ao Maori; Maori values; Maori governance; Kaupapa Maori methodology; New Zealand
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