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Te Kaupapa Tauāki ā-Rohe

The Regional Policy Statement

As part of the Tairāwhiti Resource Management Plan review we're updating our Regional Policy Statement (RPS).

What the Regional Policy Statement does

The RPS sets out what we want for managing the natural and physical resources of Tairāwhiti, what’s stopping us achieving these outcomes and how we'll address these challenges.

It also explains how national direction on resource management will be applied in Tairāwhiti and provides the framework for decisions to achieve social, cultural and environmental outcomes and to balance potentially conflicting requirements.

The RPS won’t contain rules like a regional or district plan. It provides high-level direction through policies and objectives setting the framework for the rest of the Tairāwhiti  Resource Management Plan.

The challenges we've identified

Based on the work undertaken on Tairāwhiti 2050 (the Regional Spatial Plan) and our State of the Environment reporting, we've identified four draft resource management challenges, yet to be tested by iwi or community.

Tairāwhiti is susceptible to many natural hazards which can damage our natural and built environments and our well-being. Climate change is predicted to increase natural hazard risks.

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing our communities now and in the future. The effects of climate change have the potential to adversely affect our environment and our ability to prosper.

We must plan for, and respond to, the effects of climate change and natural hazards in a way that:

  • reduces risks and impacts for present and future generations, including through appropriate adaptation and mitigation actions
  • reduces greenhouse gas emissions and waste
  • improves community resilience and the security of water supply
  • promotes economic development and diversity and the role of nature-based solutions
  • adopts a precautionary approach
  • is in partnership with mana whenua
  • recognises and learns from mātauranga Māori alongside western science

Water is now scarcer, and water quality is worsening in some areas. We’ve seen damage to our soils, biodiversity and habitat through erosion and the loss of cultural and historic heritage.

Mana whenua  have reiterated the importance of restoring and maintaining the environment through kaitiakitanga. As kaitiaki (guardians), mana whenua have guardianship of and a responsibility to care for the mana, the tapu, and the mauri of our environment – of plants and animals, of water and land.

Traditional kaitiakitanga in today’s world is a major challenge.

We must plan and manage our natural environment in a way that:

  • embraces ki uta ki tai (mountains to sea) and recognises the relationships between, and interconnectedness of all living things and places
  • recognises the direct relationship between the health of the environment and the health of the people
  • protects and restores the mana and mauri of our natural taonga, particularly indigenous ecosystems and biodiversity
  • supports mana whenua in their responsibility of kaitiaki
  • prioritises the health and well-being of freshwater
  • encourages sustainable land use practices and activities that contribute to ecological diversity, better air quality, cleaner freshwater and coastal waters, and improving wetlands, estuaries and soils

Population growth in Tairāwhiti is increasing demand for housing, employment, business, infrastructure, energy, and social services.

Poorly managed housing development can damage our productive land, the environment, infrastructure and well-being. Unplanned growth of industry in rural areas can lead to unsustainable land use that damages soil, water quality, indigenous biodiversity and landscapes.

We must plan and provide for regional development in a way that:

  • meets the needs of our different communities now and in the future
  • improves the quality of life for individuals
  • recognises the identity of our rural areas and townships
  • improves people’s access to what they need, such as parks, shops and playgrounds
  • maintains and enhances our natural features and landscapes, natural character, and historic heritage
  • encourages healthier and more sustainable ways of living such as public transport, walking and biking
  • actively encourages healthier homes with better insulation and quality building materials to reduce fuel costs
  • reduces waste

Managing natural and physical resources can help realise economic potential and improve social well-being.

We must plan, and provide, for the natural and built environment in a way that:

  • provides for use and allocation of common natural resources, such as water or aggregates, in a way that is efficient and fair, particularly where there is significant demand.
  • removes or reduces barriers (such as access and water availability) to protecting and enhancing the potential of whenua Māori
  • does not compromise productive activities and use of land or regionally significant infrastructure
  • provides for regionally significant infrastructure that is sufficient to support development and community needs
  • moves us towards sustainable and clean energy
  • ensures a plentiful and clean supply of water for all our community
  • helps streamline regulation to encourage investment and innovation

Chapters planned for the Regional Policy Statement

Based on the challenges above, we'll be engaging the community to guide the development of the following RPS chapters

Integrated Management

This chapter aims to be the overarching policy approach, that drives the approach in other chapters.

Air Quality

This chapter aims to set rules around air quality issues in rural and urban areas, and set the policy approach to air quality and the airshed regulations that come later in the regional plan.


Community input will help us form a regional overview of the key issues and national direction to retain and improve biodiversity in the region.  The criteria for identifying important habitats are included.

Climate Change

Climate change will change our region, and there are risks to our communities and ecosystems from natural hazards and limited resources such as water.  The policy direction aims to position our role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  See more on our Climate Change webpage.

Land Use

With feedback from our community, aim to identify land-uses impact on our natural resources while supporting our economy.  This chapter aims to set the policy direction for soil, hazardous substances, contaminated sites and waste.

Natural character, features and landscapes

The region has a range of landscapes and features, areas of natural and historic values and cultural sites.  Using community feedback, we aim to set out the policy approach for managing these important values and resources.

Natural Hazards

The region and the community are vulnerable to a range of natural hazards, including land slips, flooding, tsunami and coastal erosion.  This chapter is planned to use risk-based approach and manages use and development in areas that are vulnerable to high hazard risk.

Urban Development

The region has one large city and many smaller urban areas that vary in size and character.  This chapter manages growth in urban areas in the context of national direction and sets the policy approach for ensuring high quality urban spaces. It also manages the potential impacts on the environment from subdivision and urban development.


The region has water resources in many catchments that are under pressure.   They include surface water, ground water systems, aquatic habitats, and wetlands. This is where we set a policy framework for the catchment plans and the detailed regional plans that follow.


The region has an extensive coastline which is taonga to us all and a port that is important to economic growth. Through this chapter we aim to identify the challenges faced by the coastal environment and sets the policy direction for the many issues that arise on the coastline and in the marine environment.

When to have your say on the RPS

We'll have a draft RPS for public feedback in July 2024

The formal consultation is planned for the end of the year.

Contact us

In the meantime, if you have more questions on the RPS or anything related to the Tairāwhiti Resource Management Plan review you can either: