The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

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Services › Other Services › Development of the Motiti Island Environmental Management Plan

Development of the Motiti Island Environmental Management Plan

Plan preparation and drafting (2004 - 2005)

The Department of Internal Affairs (the Department) contracted Beca Carter Hollings and Ferner Ltd (Beca) to prepare and write the District Plans for Motiti and Tūhua Islands.

Newsletters were sent to all island residents, tangata whenua tribal affiliations, and other stakeholders. The newsletters explained what a District Plan is, how it is prepared and its importance to the residents and the future of the islands. They also provided progress reports. There were a number of hui and meetings with tangata whenua representing both islands, and contact from organisations and individuals with interests on the islands.

Following the hui and meetings, a draft plan was prepared and presented to Motiti Island groups for their comment.

Proposed Motiti Island Environment Management Plan (Dec 2006 - March 2007)

The proposed Motiti Island Environment Management Plan (MIEMP) was publicly notified on Saturday 16 December 2006, with a closing date for submissions of 9 March 2007. The proposed Tūhua District Plan was notified at the same time.

The Submissions Process (March - May 2007)

Submissions closed on 9 March 2007.
Following the receipt of public submissions, a summary of the submissions lodged to the proposed MIEMP and the proposed Tūhua Island District Plan was prepared and sent to all those who made submissions. This was publicly notified and further submissions, lodged in support or opposition to any original submissions, were accepted until 21 May 2007. The Minister appointed a Hearing Panel to assess the proposed District Plans and the submissions lodged to them, including further submissions. The Panel held a public hearing to enable submitters to present their submissions.

Hearing Panel's Report on Proposed Motiti Island District Plan (August 2007)

The Hearing Panel's report was completed on 14 August 2007 and was publicly released on 3 November 2007 by the Minister of Local Government, Hon Mark Burton, in his role as territorial authority for the offshore island of Motiti.

Final Decision of Hearings Commissioners (October 2009)

Following the hearing of submissions and further submissions to the proposed MIEMP, the Hearings Commissioners made a final decision. All submitters were notified of the decision and a Public Notice made through local media - 5 December 2009.


No further decisions were made by the Hearings Commissioners as all the matters were investigated and determined in accordance with the Hearings Panel's interim decision.

Cultural Heritage Report

Draft Cultural Heritage Report (August 2010)

To assist in resolving appeals to the MIEMP, an Environment Court mediation was held 24 August 2010.
The Environment Court Judge ordered a process to be followed involving the creation of a Cultural Heritage Report to be incorporated into the MIEMP.

An Environment Court mediation was held on 29 January 2011 at Armitage Hotel, 9 Willow Street, Tauranga, to mediate appeals to the Motiti Island District Plan: A hard copy of the draft Cultural Heritage Report is available for viewing from 10 January 2011 at the Beca offices, 32 Harrington Street, Tauranga.

Cultural Heritage Report (June 2012)

The Cultural Heritage Report was finalised in June 2012:

Environment Court appeals

Appeals Process Update (2010 - 2011)

The Department were required to report back to the Environment Court on progress made in relation to the appeals to the MIEMP.

Mediation and pre-hearing conferences (2011)

An Environment Court mediation was also held 29 January 2011, facilitated by Commissioner Prime of the Environment Court. Following that mediation Commissioner Prime proposed a further mediation session,focussed on iwi, hapu and whanau issues.


An Environment Court pre-hearing conference was held 19 April 2011, to discuss problems from mediation and the cultural impact assessment report. Another Environment Court pre-hearing conference was held 14 December 2011, identifying directions from the Environment Court Judge regarding the appeals to the MIEMP

Hearing and Interim decision (August - December 2012)

The Environment Court hearing on the appeal of the proposed MIEMP was heard in Mt Maunganui from 20 August to 31 August 2012. The Court noted that it would need to issue an interim decision and it would endeavour to do so before December 2012. On 11 September Judge Smith issued oral directions on the hearing.
On 20 December 2012, Judge Smith of the Environment Court released his interim decision on the appeals to the proposed MIEMP.

High Court appeal (May 2013)

One of the appellants in the Environment Court proceedings appealed aspects of the Environment Court’s interim decision and directions to the High Court. The appeal was heard on 2 and 3 May 2013. The High Court’s judgment was issued on 31 May 2013:

Environment Court directions (July 2013)

A judicial pre-hearing conference was held on 18 June 2013,The parties discussed the High Court decision and identified issues for the continuation of the appeal to the Environment Court. Following the conference, the Environment Court issued the following directions on 11 July 2013:

First Hearing (December 2013)

The first of two final Environment Court hearings on the appeal of the proposed MIEMP was heard in Mt Maunganui from 5 December to 6 December 2013. On 19 December 2013, Judge Smith issued directions on the hearing.

Pre-Hearing Conference (July 2014)

Another judicial pre-hearing conference was held on 14 July 2014 to identify outstanding issues for hearing.

Second Hearing (September 2014)

The second of two final hearings on the appeal of the proposed MIEMP was heard in Mt Maunganui from 17 September to 19 September 2014. On 18 September 2014, Judge Smith issued his oral decision.

Final Decision (October 2014)

On 13 October 2014, Judge Smith of the Environment Court released his final decision on the appeal of the MIEMP.

Final Orders (January 2015)

On 19 January 2015, Judge Smith of the Environment Court released his final decision on the appeal of the MIEMP.

Minute (September 2015)

On 30 September 2015, Judge Smith of the Environment Court released clarification of its Final Orders (January 2015) in relation to the preamble of the proposed MIEMP.

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