“We agree in principle with the intention of the policy to protect our indigenous biodiversity on general title lands, but Māori land should be exempt” affirms Aperahama Edwards, Chair of Te Poari o
SNAs sit within the Draft National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity (‘NPSIB’) which the Ministry of the Environment consulted on in March 2020. While the NPSIB has not been adopted at a national level, Northland Regional Council included SNAs in their Regional Policy Statement which
requires local Councils to implement. Wildlands Consultants was engaged by Council to complete a mapping project which mapped indigenous biodiversity across the Northland region.
“We have a concern that as hapū, iwi we were not advised by Council that they intended to contract Wildlands to implement this project across our tribal estates. Who designed the project and who owns the data collected? That’s our whenua data” says Hūhana Lyndon, new Te Raukura (CEO) mō Te Poari o Ngātiwai.
Despite the National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity not being finalised; Northland Regional Council has chosen to adopt SNAs into their Regional Policy Statement; councils in Northland had been required to implement SNAs.
Ngātiwai Trust Board has concerns for the northern sections of our rohe; with impacted whenua Māori landowners worried about the implications SNAs will have on their ability to utilise their lands
in the future.
“We do not support SNAs being applied to whenua Māori, as kaitiaki we are capable of protecting our indigenous biodiversity and affirm our rights guaranteed through He Whakaputanga me Te Tiriti o Waitangi. However, we have seen widespread clearing of lands in our rohe; general title lands should be the focus of this policy” states Hūhana Lyndon.
On Friday the 11th of June, thousands of people gathered in the spirit of unity along side our whānaunga hapū to say \’kāhore\’ to Far North District Council\’s SNA proposal.
While the Council has said they will \’pause\’ we need to maintain pressure to ensure that Council does not undermine our tino rangatiratanga as guaranteed through He Whakaputanga me Te Tiriti o Waitangi.