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There are many known archaeological sites within the Lakes A Zone. However there are many more unknown due to ash and mud covering and elevated lake levels caused by the Mt. Tarawera eruption of 6th June, 1886. There are still a people unaccounted for from the eruption. This presents an issue for district and regional councils and tangata whenua, when applications for consent are made for earthworks or development. Over the years earthworks have uncovered human remains that were not known previously to be there. In these cases tangata whenua and New Zealand Historic Places Trust were informed and appropriate protocols took place.
In the Lakes A Zone there are large tracts of land in multiple Maori ownership and considerable public access to lakes. However there are areas of privately owned land that are Maori rohe and taonga. In these situations it is important and necessary to ‘provide for the relationship of tangata whenua and their culture and traditions’. The Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Act 2006 saw all lake beds in Lakes A returned to Te Arawa (except for the bed of Lake Rotokakahi which is in private ownership of iwi). Central North Island treaty settlements saw some Crown land returned to tangata whenua. These statutes are intended to help restore the relationship of tangata whenua with their ancestral lands, and their culture and traditions.
The Lakes A Zone includes tangata whenua structure plans intended to provide for appropriate development opportunities on identified sites, to rekindle and foster the relationship of tangata whenua with culture and traditions associated with their ancestral lands, water, sites, waahi tapu and other taonga. The idea of an approved structure plan included in the Lakes A Zone is to make the resource consent process easier, subject to the proposal fitting with the structure plan included.
The anticipated environmental results reflect these issues and monitoring requirements measure the success of policies in place to achieve the desired results.