Monday, April 25, 2011

New Zealand Planning Conference, 2011

I attended this years NZ Planning Institute conference in Poneke/Wellington, March 29th to April 1st. There was a pre-conference hui for Maori planners, as well as a Maori session on the Wednesday afternoon. These two events were held in the Whare Waka, pictured below, a fairly nice new building with a few nods to historical design. (There's a korero around this building and its intended occupant that is a drama in its own right). The whare is on reclaimed land, by which I'm sure they went pounded solid alongside the sea...

In the pre-conf hui I was struck by how tired our planners have become. For them, 20 years of banging against the brick wall off local authorities intransigence and racism has taken a personal toll. They've seen little improvement and even some declines following the 2005 amendments to remove the requirement to consult, although that amendment was supported my many Maori who saw 'consultation' itself as a sterile and pointless process.

Maori Planners pre-conference hui, Te Whare Waka, Poneke.

Shadrach Rolleston presented a paper on some work LandCare is doing on incorporating Maori positions and implementing better responses, from Joint Management arrangements over important resources, project management of cultural engagement, to service delivery of cultural advice. As Shad pointed out, these models are not without their challenges.

Andrew Henderson presented a follow up to his Masters research titled “Nursing a Colonial hangover”. Like the song says, 'running over the same old ground/and how we found/the same old fears...'

I think the Otautahi 'quakes have left exposed the void in our collective philosophies, reflected in our planning, that is there to be filled. Having argued Maori and other Indigenous Peoples can provide aspects of what we need as planetary citizens, it is still down to the descendants of colonisers to actually figure out what they want. Tick tick tick tick...

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Simon Lambert

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