Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti is one of the longest lasting partnerships between tāngata whenua and Local Government in New Zealand. The partners are the Kāpiti Coast District Council and the mana whenua (people with ‘authority over the land’) on the Kāpiti Coast: Te Āti Awa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga and Ngāti Toarangatira.
To forge a relationship of mutual benefit between the Kāpiti Coast District Council and the tāngata whenua that will develop into an effective and meaningful partnership.
While Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti has primarily been involved with issues to do with resource management, it has also worked, particularly in more recent years, to ensure that the Māori World view is better represented and understood in the broader community. From the beginning Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti has focused on harmonising different cultural attitudes to resources and solve local issues according to national legislation.
Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti stems from two core principles of the Treaty of Waitangi as identified and defined by the Court of Appeal and the Waitangi Tribunal. The first principle, ‘partnership’, obliges both parties ‘to act reasonably, honourably and in good faith’. For that, consultation is vital. The second principle, ‘active protection’, requires the Crown to protect Māori in the use of their lands and waters to the fullest extent practicable.
Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti first met on 8 March 1994. As the District Council’s Iwi Consultation Group, the three iwi used ‘Te Whakaminenga’, meaning ‘The Confederation’, to describe themselves, but the addition ‘o Kāpiti’ (of Kāpiti) was designed to include the Kāpiti Coast District Council.
In 1994, the group developed and signed a Memorandum of Partnership; this is the primary guide for the group’s general conduct and purpose. For its part Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti guides the Council relationship with iwi, although where appropriate the Council undertakes direct consultation with iwi.
Te Āti Awa ki Whakarongotai Charitable Trust, Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki and Te Runanga o Ngāti Toarangatira elect two representatives, each with voting rights. The Council is represented by the Mayor and a councillor. These representatives discuss matters of social, environmental, economic and cultural significance to tāngata whenua.