We need to talk about cultural heritage

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Published: 20 Oct 2022

Along with the wonderful environment that we enjoy in the Timaru District we can also celebrate a rich and diverse culture and heritage.

The new Proposed District Plan – He Po He Ao Ka Awatea, works to ensure this taonga is recognised and protected. The Proposed District Plan’s section on Historical and Cultural Values is divided into three chapters: Historical Heritage, Notable Trees and Sites and Areas of significance to Māori (SASM).

Sites and Areas of significance to Māori is a new chapter in the District Plan and addresses the Council’s obligations under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA); Environment Canterbury’s Regional Policy Statement, and the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi The Treaty of Waitangi. In collaboration with Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua, Council has worked to develop a chapter that manages activities that have potential to adversely affect the values of sites and areas that are significant to Kāti Huirapa, the hapū who hold mana whenua in the district. This was enhanced by valuable community input received during the extra consultation opportunity in 2020 when Council released an early draft of the District Plan.

Kāti Huirapa worked and travelled extensively across South Canterbury, so there are many historical and cultural connections with land and waterways throughout the Timaru District.

The Site and Areas Significant to Māori overlay in the e-Plan map shows these locations. There is a particular proliferation of sites around Temuka township and its outlying areas due to the original site of Kāti Huirapa’s marae and the surrounding swamp area that was an important mahika kai (food gathering) location.  Accordingly, this area is subject to an overlay called Wāhi Tupuna.

The only controls in relation to the Wāhi Tupuna overlay relate to earthworks and its possible impacts on SASM. Council and Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua have sought to make this chapter as practical as possible for landowners. To try and avoid the average landowner being unduly impacted, it was decided that resource consent will not be required for any earthworks under 750m2. (750m2 was considered an average sized property). Landowners will be required to complete an online Accidental Discovery Protocol form that will confirm they are aware of their statutory obligations if any archaeology is accidentally discovered. Earth works for gardening, cultivation and fences are exempt from these rules.

For any development over 750m2, a specific SASM consent is required. This will mostly affect large scale developments.

With the Proposed District Plan now notified there is another opportunity for you to engage with this document and have your say.

Council strongly encourages you to take the opportunity to offer feedback or write a submission. This process helps the Council to ensure they have created a robust Plan that can guide the district into the future.

Last updated: 20 Oct 2022