Waahi tapu project wins award for New Plymouth District Council

New Plymouth District Council  has won an award for its work identifying waahi tapu sites.
GRANT MATTHEW/Fairfax NZ

New Plymouth District Council has won an award for its work identifying waahi tapu sites.

An on-going project to improve knowledge about cultural heritage sites in New Plymouth District has resulted in a national award.

New Plymouth District Council has won the Innovation in Policy and Regulatory Development Category of the The Society for Local Government Managers (SOLGM) Excellence Awards for its work alongside iwi and hapu in identifying the locations and the importance of waahi tapu sites.

The judges were particularly happy with how the council collaborated with iwi and hapu, and the smart use of GIS technology. The development of a GIS viewer has allowed iwi, hapu and the council to share information to support the project.

"There was a lot of interest from other councils who haven't gone to this depth working with iwi and hapu, and their waahi tapu information," NPDC acting chief executive Alan Bird said.

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"It's often an issue for councils to firstly build a meaningful relationship with tangata whenua and secondly to back it up with a good, reliable system that iwi and hapu can use for recording the sites' histories and helping with their response to resource consent applications."

The review of waahi tapu and archaeological sites, which started in 2007, was necessary for the council to meet its statutory obligations as the location of many sites were not exact. 

The review means the council and tangata whenua have accurate information about these sites, and resource consents for developments will be assessed with greater accuracy and provide more certainty for developers and the community. 

Also at the awards, NPDC infrastructure manager David Langford was a finalist in the Young Leaders Award, receiving a highly commended citation.

SOLGM is a national organisation for local government professionals. It promotes innovation and excellence in management practice and develops the sector's capability to enhance service delivery to local communities.

 - Stuff

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