Planning to develop land returned under Treaty settlement in Waikato, Aotearoa New Zealand : an institutional ethnography : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Health at Massey University, SHORE & Whāriki Research Centre, Aotearoa New Zealand
This research investigates planning to develop land returned as settlement for breaches of Te
Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi). Using institutional ethnography methodology, I
explore a case study of the relationship between an iwi authority, Te Whakakitenga o Waikato,
and a local authority, Hamilton City Council. In 1995, significant areas of land were returned to
Waikato-Tainui through Treaty settlement. This research focuses on processes to develop
planning regulation for land owned by Waikato-Tainui at Te Rapa, site of ‘The Base’ retail
development and Te Awa shopping mall, and Ruakura where an inland port and associated
activities are proposed.
Iwi planning documents describe a vision to develop land returned under Treaty settlement.
Commercial property development to regain ‘economic sovereignty’ is a critical element in the
‘integrated development agenda’ for Waikato-Tainui. However, critical discourse analysis and
intertextual analysis illustrate that this vision is not well-reflected in local government planning
Relations between Hamilton City Council and Waikato-Tainui have changed from generally
adversarial in 2009 during planning processes to restrict development at Te Rapa through
Variation 21, to more collaborative during planning processes to approve the Ruakura Plan
Change in 2014. Complementing data from interviewing practitioners with analysis of texts
created through these planning processes, I consider control, timing, and trust as key factors in
this changing relationship.
This research provides evidence for dual planning traditions in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Communal ownership of land and inalienability are characteristics of land returned under
Treaty settlement which have influenced development decisions made by Waikato-Tainui.
Planners and the planning profession can ‘transform’ planning practices to create new
relationships between local government and iwi authorities. Interviews suggest that crosscultural
planning can be a challenging and emotional experience. Iwi planning documents
articulate a vision for future relationships based on mana whakahaere (affirming Māori
authority) and mātauranga Māori (valuing Māori knowledge). In response, I highlight the need
for changes to the New Zealand Planning Institute Code of Ethics to support planners working
to decolonise planning. I conclude by ‘mapping’ the institution of planning for Treaty
settlement land, and identifying levers which planners can use to support Māori goals for land
development and economic self-determination.