16.1 Introduction

16.1.1 This chapter considers a number of objectives, policies, and methods to effectively manage ngaa taonga tuku iho (valuable historical items), waahi tapu (highly prized sites), waahi tuupuna (sites of significance), including archaeological sites. Policies consider site management, protection of sites of significance, and the permissions for archaeological surveys and excavations. Policies also include protocols for the discovery of waahi tapu, waahi tuupuna, and archaeological sites.

Waahi tapu

16.1.2 To Waikato-Tainui waahi tapu are those sites of significance that are highly prized. They are areas (lands, waters and space) which exhibit the following:

(a) Cultural importance such as areas for cultural and spiritual purification, cleansing and/or ceremonial purposes, activities, natural places, fisheries and food gathering sites;

(b) Historical importance such as areas where significant battles occurred, significant and/or Kiingitanga events;

(c) Tribal importance such as existing and historical marae, papakaainga (communities), urupaa (burial grounds), tuahu (monuments), and areas of celebration; and/or

(d) Archaeological importance including areas where taonga tuku iho (see below for definition) are discovered.

16.1.3 What constitutes a waahi tapu, waahi tuupuna (highly prized sites or a site of significance) is often a matter specific to the whaanau, marae, or hapuu concerned. While there are broadly accepted types of waahi tapu/waahi tuupuna, there is no ‘one size fits all’ definition of what constitutes such a site. Consultation and engagement with Waikato-Tainui and investigating the public record will assist in determining waahi tapu/waahi tuupuna that may be affected by a resource use or activity.

Significant sites

16.1.4 Sites and activities of cultural significance define the history of Waikato-Tainui. The Waikato rohe has many areas of significance that are associated to the history of its people, its environment and culture. After the confiscation of Waikato-Tainui lands and the subsequent industry and urban development, many known sites of significance were destroyed, and shifted to the ownership and management of other persons and organisations. Once Waikato-Tainui sites are altered or lost, they cannot be replaced and there is no mitigation that can restore its original significance. Therefore, Waikato-Tainui must protect their waahi tapu and waahi tuupuna for the benefit of future generations and to acknowledge the sacrifices of tuupuna.


16.1.5 Taonga such as whakairo (carvings), toki (axes, adzes), koo (digging implements), hiinaki (eel traps) and other objects are considered to be taonga tuku iho to Waikato-Tainui. Under the Waikato-Tainui Accord with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, ‘taonga tuku iho’ is defined as:

(a) Those things that are highly prized and derived from iwi, hapuu and whaanau. They are whakapapa connected and are passed on from one generation to the next. This includes:

(i) tangible objects such as types of heirlooms, artefacts, carvings, land and fisheries; and

(ii) intangible substance such as language, spiritual beliefs, ideas and metaphysical gifts.

16.1.6 Most newly found taonga are subject the Protected Objects Act 1975, and recognised as Taonga Tuuturu, defined as  an object that—

(a) Relates to Maaori culture, history, or society; and

(b) Was, or appears to have been

(i) Manufactured or modified in New Zealand by Maaori; or

(ii) Brought into New Zealand by Maaori; or

(iii) Used by Maaori; and

(c) Is more than 50 years old.

16.1.7 ‘Found’, as defined in section 2 of the Protected Objects Act, means that the taonga tuuturu was discovered or obtained in circumstances that do not indicate with reasonable certainty who has ownership of it and the last owner was not alive when it was found.

16.1.8 However, Waikato-Tainui believe that no taonga is found/discovered in the sense defined by the Protected Objects Act 1975, and in fact it has been purposely buried/placed for protective purposes until the appropriate time occurs for it to resurface and be presented to our people. It is the position of Waikato-Tainui that any taonga of Maaori origin within the Waikato-Tainui rohe, is not subject to the provisions of the Protected Objects Act 1975. Therefore, Waikato-Tainui believe that Waikato-Tainui are the rightful owners of the taonga tuku iho (or taonga tuuturu). This ownership may accrue to Waikato-Tainui marae and/or hapuu either individually or, in the case of shared interests, collectively. Waikato-Tainui are progressing actions to achieve this position.

16.1.9 This includes recognition that WTTKI are Temporary Custodians of Taonga Tuuturu, as defined under the Protected Objects Act 1975, and supported by a letter from the Chief Executive of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage (see Appendix 2 for a copy of the letter). Therefore, at the point of discovery, within the Waikato-Tainui area, WTTKI is the temporary custodian of the found taonga, until ownership is determined. This temporary custodianship is considered to be on behalf of Waikato-Tainui whaanui until the ownership is determined and arrangements made for the transfer of ownership and/or custodianship to the owner(s).

16.2 Issues

Site management protocols

16.2.1 It is critical that, before site works begin, clear protocols exist to manage the site and the potential and actual discovery of waahi tapu and/or taonga tuku iho. Lack of understanding of who to talk to within Waikato-Tainui and the protocol to be followed can lead to waahi tapu and taonga tuku iho being modified or destroyed. Similarly Waikato-Tainui needs confidence that resource users and activity operators that impact on the rohe of Waikato-Tainui have clear site management protocols.

Managing waahi tapu and waahi tuupuna

16.2.2 Waikato-Tainui are concerned at the ways that waahi tapu and waahi tuupuna, whether owned by Waikato-Tainui or privately owned, have sometimes been managed in the past. This has led to the destruction or inappropriate use of waahi tapu and waahi tuupuna sites. Often Waikato-Tainui are not informed of such impending use or destruction. For a number of reasons Waikato-Tainui may not wish to reveal the location or type of a waahi tapu or waahi tuupuna. However, unless Waikato-Tainui are involved in managing waahi tapu and waahi tuupuna, such ‘hidden’ sites cannot be appropriately managed.

Discovery of taonga (including archeological sites)

16.2.3 The discovery of taonga tuku iho or archaeological sites must be accompanied with protocols so that all parties are clear on how best to manage the discovery for the benefit of the preservation of the taonga or site and Waikato- Tainui aspirations for the taonga or site. Clear protocols will enable the discovery to be managed in a way that is best for cultural, social, and environmental outcomes and to hopefully ensure minimum disruption to the resource user’s or activity operator’s activities.

Areas and sites of significance

16.2.4 There are a number of areas and sites of significance to Waikato-Tainui that can be impacted from a resource use or activity. These include but are not limited to sites on public and private lands, and coastal sites.

16.2.5 Protection of identified sites of significance through policy and physical protection is key to avoiding the impacts of activities that may degrade or destroy these sites. Protecting sites on Crown lands can be achieved through Accords with the appropriate agency, or with agreements with local authorities. Sites on private lands may need to be protected through working with local authorities, the landowner or through different strategies.

16.2.6 The coastal area is a volatile environment and natural forces and human activities can have a significant impact on this area. Storms and flooding expose koiwi (human bones), increased activities through open access impact on waahi tapu and areas of significance. Waikato-Tainui wish to protect significant sites and prevent human activity exposing taonga.

16.3 Objectives, Policies & Methods

It is noted that all of the objectives, policies and methods in this chapter are to be considered with any resource use or activity that could affect a waahi tapu, waahi tuupuna, and/ or taonga tuku iho.

Objective – Site Management Protocols

16.3.1 Site management protocols exist to ensure a precautionary approach to site works to manage the potential for waahi tapu and taonga tuku iho discovery.

Policy – Site Management Protocols

16.3.2 The Project Manager for a project or consented activities incorporates site management protocols and other protocols in this chapter into the site management plan so as to ensure a precautionary approach to site works to manage the potential discover of waahi tapu and taonga tuku iho.


(a) The Project Manager shall be responsible for engaging an appropriately qualified archaeologist to monitor the progress of all excavations or disturbances and to advise methods to be undertaken to ensure that adverse effects on Waikato-Tainui archaeological values are avoided.

(b) For any urupaa (burial sites) and identified waahi tapu, Waikato-Tainui shall be entitled to have a representative during construction, excavation or disturbance of the site to act as a tribal advisor to the project manager regarding the contents of this protocol. NOTE : The cost of the representative shall be negotiated with and resourced by the project, through the Project Manager.

(c) The Project Manager shall provide to Waikato-Tainui the following information no less than 15 working days prior to any excavation, disturbance or works:

(i) A schedule of the dates of all significant excavation or disturbance events, their sequence and duration; and

(ii) A summary of all measures that will be undertaken to ensure that the adverse effects on Waikato- Tainui archaeological values are avoided.

(d) The Project Manager shall invite Waikato-Tainui to attend any part of monitoring or earthworks.

(e) The Project Manager shall consult with Waikato-Tainui to determine if there are any matters of protocol

Waikato-Tainui may wish to undertake in relation to any excavation or disturbance.

(f) The Project Manager shall provide Waikato-Tainui with a copy of all archaeological monitoring and investigation results, and allow Waikato-Tainui an opportunity to respond and discuss the substance of those results.

Objective – Managing Waahi Tapu and Waahi Tuupuna

16.3.3 Waikato-Tainui manages and/or owns all identified waahi tapu and waahi tuupuna.

Policy – waahi tapu, waahi tuupuna site identification Waahi tapu and waahi tuupuna are identified and information is stored and shared appropriately.


(a) All relevant agencies shall develop protocols to allow the sharing of, and access to, any information of waahi tapu and waahi tuupuna that is associated to Waikato-Tainui.

(b) All relevant agencies shall provide all information related to waahi tapu and waahi tuupuna of Waikato-Tainui.

These agencies include:

(i) Regional Councils;

(ii) Territorial Local Authorities;

(iii) Pouhere Taonga (New Zealand Historic Places Trust);

(iv) Ministry for Culture and Heritage; and

(v) the New Zealand Archaeological Association.

(c) Storage of data and information should be developed with Waikato-Tainui that allows for the following:

(i) Determining who should hold the information;

(ii) Determining how the information may be shared with external parties, including the public;

(iii) Development of software platforms that will allow access by marae and whaanau;

(iv) Creating back-up systems to ensure the information is not lost; and

(v) Allowing for agreed information to be easily reproduced on maps and other media.

Policy – Active Engagement Waikato-Tainui marae are actively engaged to ensure the appropriate management of waahi tapu and waahi tuupuna.


(a) Relevant agencies and partners work with Waikato-Tainui to develop a strategy and pathway for greater management of identified waahi tapu and waahi tuupuna. This may include:

(i) Development of regulations for each identified waahi;

(ii) Shared decision making;

(iii) Delegation of powers; and

(iv) Pathways for transfer of ownership (if so desired by Waikato-Tainui).

(b) Regional and District Councils shall develop accidental discovery protocols and Waahi Tapu Management Protocol with Waikato-Tainui to provide for the protection of Waahi Tapu, through:

(i) Providing the protocols to developers prior to lodging consent;

(ii) Providing the contact details of mana whenua and mana whakahaere;

(iii) Developing required conditions for use during the planning, construction and commissioning of any development.

(c) The discovery protocols in the above method should be of at least the same rigour as other protocols outlined in this chapter and shall be consistent with this Plan.

Policy – general provisions To ensure that sufficient general provisions for Waikato-Tainui involvement in waahi tapu and waahi tuupuna management are in place and understood.


(a) Causing of destruction: No person shall knowingly desecrate or cause damage to any identified sites of significance or waahi tapu.

(b) Effects from activities: No person shall carry out activities that may adversely impact upon any sites of significance or waahi tapu.

(c) Reporting of unlawful activity: Any person who identifies that an unlawful activity is taking place within an area or site of significance must immediately report the activity to Waikato-Tainui and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

(d) Other: other methods as may, from time to time, be required to provide for Waikato-Tainui involvement in waahi tapu and waahi tuupuna management.

Objective – Discovery of Taonga (including archaeological sites)

16.3.4 Procedures are in place to manage the discovery of taonga and archaeological sites.

Policy – Archaeological Surveys and Excavations (information and permission) To ensure that appropriate guidelines are in place for undertaking archaeological surveys and excavations (information and permission).


(a) Mana whenua kaumaatua have the role of giving information or permission for archaeological surveys or excavations and direct requests are to be made to mana whenua kaumaatua or their nominees.

(b) In the event that any archaeological remains or artefacts are unearthed, the works shall cease immediately at the place of discovery and the requiring authority shall notify Waikato-Tainui and mana whenua within one working day of discovery.

(c) At the same time, the NZ Police, the Coroner, and Historic Places Trust shall be contacted as appropriate. Work shall not commence in the affected area until all necessary statutory authorisations or consents have been obtained.

Appropriate protocols for taonga discovery and the accidental discovery of archaeological sites are outlined in the following two policies

Policy – taonga discovery To ensure that a clear protocol is followed in the event of discovering taonga.


(a) If taonga are discovered the following protocol must be followed, and the following procedure will apply to the taonga themselves:

(i) The area of the site5 containing the taonga will be secured in a way that protects the taonga as far as possible from further damage.

(ii) Waikato-Tainui kaumaatua shall be notified immediately before the taonga is moved.

(iii) Kaumaatua will undertake appropriate actions.

(iv) Work may resume when advised by the Kaumaatua.

(v) If approved by the Kaumaatua, the archaeologist will record, measure and photograph the taonga prior to the Kaumaatua and WTTKI staff member securing the taonga.

(vi) Kaumaatua will determine the appropriate action for the taonga once it has been recorded. This may include reburying the taonga in an appropriate location, or storing in an appropriate location.

(vii) The WTTKI staff member will notify the Ministry for Culture and Heritage of the find within 28 days to inform the Ministry of its actions.

(viii) If the taonga requires conservation treatment (stabilisation), this can be carried out in discussion with the archaeologist, kaumaatua and WTTKI staff member.

(ix) For the avoidance of doubt subject to any laws of New Zealand any taonga found shall be the property of Waikato-Tainui who shall hold and use those taonga (including the return of them to marae) as they, in their sole discretion, see fit.

Policy – archaeological sites To ensure that the appropriate protocol for the accidental discovery of archaeological sites is followed.


(a) In the event of an “accidental discovery” of archaeological matter including human remains the following steps shall be taken:

(i) All work within the vicinity of the site6 will cease immediately.

(ii) The plant operator will shut down all construction equipment and activity, leave the site area and unearthed archaeological material in-situ (in place), and advise the relevant person (e.g. site construction supervisor, consultant, owner, or other person named as the ‘relevant person’).

(iii) The relevant person will take immediate steps to secure the area of the site to ensure the archaeological matter remains undisturbed. Work may continue outside of the site area.

(iv) The relevant person will ensure that the matter is reported to the Regional Archaeologist at the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, Waikato-Tainui (for clarity this includes relevant mana whenua), and to any required statutory agencies7 if this has not already occurred.

(v) The relevant person will ensure that a qualified archaeologist is appointed to ensure all archaeological matter is dealt with appropriately.

(vi) In the event of the material being of Maaori origin the relevant person will ensure that the Waikato-Tainui are contacted in order that appropriate cultural processes are implemented to remedy or mitigate any damage to the site.

(vii) Any and all visits to the site must be cleared by the relevant person. It is advisable that a list of authorised personnel to visit the site is maintained. Under law it is a requirement for the site operator to undertake the overall safe management of the site, including the health and safety of all persons visiting the site. To meet this requirement and also to protect the integrity of the accidental discovery, Waikato-Tainui consider it important that all visitors to the project site are recorded, cleared and inducted into the site.

(viii) The relevant person will ensure that the necessary people shall be available to meet and guide representatives of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, Waikato-Tainui, and any other party with statutory responsibilities, to the site.

(ix) Works in the site area shall not recommence until authorised by the relevant person who will consult with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust staff, Waikato-Tainui, the NZ Police, and any other authority with statutory responsibility, to ensure that all statutory and cultural requirements have been met.

(x) All parties will work towards operations recommencing in the shortest possible timeframes while ensuring that any archaeological sites discovered are protected until a decision regarding their appropriate management is made, and as much information as possible is gained. Appropriate management could include recording or removal of archaeological material.

Objective – areas and sites of significance

16.3.5 The adverse effects of resource use and activity operation are managed so as to appropriately protect areas and sites of significance.

Policy – areas and sites of significance To ensure that the adverse effects of resource use and activity operation are managed so as to appropriately protect areas and sites of significance.


(a) Resource user or activity operator to work with Waikato-Tainui to ensure resource use, activity, or site specific methods are agreed to manage adverse effects so as to appropriately protect areas and sites of significance.

(b) Resource user or activity operator to work with Waikato-Tainui, through an agreed consultation and engagement process, to identify areas or sites of significance that are or could be effected by an existing or proposed resource use or activity.

(c) For identified sites of significance on Crown lands and lands in which the Crown has vested interests, the responsible Crown agency must provide the following:

i. Appropriate fencing for protection;

ii. Maintained access to the site of significance; and

iii. Work with Waikato-Tainui to seek acknowledgement of the site of significance in the relevant district plan (if requested by Waikato-Tainui);

(d) When an agreement has been reached between a private land owner/s and Waikato-Tainui through a heritage order or other agreement, the order or agreement will provide the following as a minimum:

i. Appropriate fencing for protection; and

ii. Maintained access to the site of significance

(e) When an order or agreement has been reached between a private landowner/s and Waikato-Tainui, the Private Landowner shall provide the following as a minimum:

i. In partnership with Waikato-Tainui, ensure that any adverse effects from landowners activities on the site of significance identified are effectively managed;

ii. Allow Waikato-Tainui regular pre-arranged access to the site of significance, subject to suitable health and safety requirements;

iii. Inform Waikato-Tainui of any activities that may impact the site of significance; and

iv. Immediately inform Waikato-Tainui of any disturbances, accidents or any other activity that has an adverse effect on the site of significance.

(f) Work with Waikato-Tainui to appropriately stabilise and otherwise protect the site of significance and manage any adverse effect on the site.

(g) Work with Waikato-Tainui to appropriately restrict activity within the fenced or recognised area of the site of significance. This may include measures such as, but not limited to, restricting:

i. Walking and tramping outside of any established access track;

ii. Vehicle access;

iii. The lighting of fires; and

iv. The access of animals, particularly exotic or domestic animals to the site of significance