Sites and Areas of Significance

to Maori

Kāi Tahu are Takata Whenua of the Otago region. Waitaha were the first people of Te Waipounamu, the South Island. Led by Rākaihautū, they explored and settled Te Waipounamu, and their exploits are reflected in enduring place names and histories across the motu. Waitaha were followed by the arrival of Kāti Māmoe and finally Kāi Tahu. Through warfare, intermarriage and political alliances a common allegiance to Kāi Tahu was forged. Kāi Tahu means the ‘people of Tahu’, linking them by name to their common ancestor Tahu Pōtiki.


The Council must recognise the relationship of Maori and their culture and traditions with their land, special sites, Wāhi Tūpuna and Taonga.  Tangata Whenua values must be taken into consideration and the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.


► The cumulative effects of land use change and inappropriate land use and development on Wāhi Tūpuna, wāhi taoka sites, mahika kai, indigenous biodiversity and the coastal environment.
► Historically, recognition of kaitiakitaka in resource management processes and decision making has been limited
► Loss of access to wāhi taoka sites, and to mahika kai and kaimoana resources and the loss of the ability to pass on mahika kai traditions.
► The utilisation of Māori land is constrained by policy that does not take into account the multi-ownership nature of the land.


► Kāi Tahu’s role as kaitiaki is recognised. Kāi Tahu is engaged in resource management decision making processes in the spirit and intent of the Treaty of Waitangi and RMA.
► Development is holistic in approach and, protects Kāi Tahu cultural values and protects Wāhi Tūpuna in a culturally appropriate manner.
► Adverse effects on Kāi Tahu values in the coastal environment caused by inappropriate coastal land use, subdivision and development are avoided.
► The relationship of Kāi Tahu with their ancestral land is recognised through the provision for Papakāika housing on general title land within the original native reserves.
► Adverse effects on wāhi tapu and other sites of cultural heritage value as a result of inappropriate land-use, subdivision and development are avoided.
► The general public has better access to information about statutory and non-statutory tools and processes for managing discoveries of taoka, accidental or otherwise.

Wāhi Tūpuna areas are manawhenua cultural landscapes. They reflect the association of landscapes with people and the values that describe that relationship, rather than physical evidence. The record of these values is multi-layered, informed by written, oral and archaeological history, memories, ancestry and traditional activities.