Part 3: Inclusiveness of the two processes we looked at

Using different processes to protect marine environments.

Although the South-East Forum had to meet the MPA policy requirement of inclusiveness, Te Korowai did not. However, Te Korowai’s community did expect the process to be inclusive.

In this Part, we discuss:

The South-East Forum met MPA policy expectations for inclusiveness

Marine Protection Planning Forums are expected to be inclusive. The MPA policy states that each Marine Protection Planning Forum will:

involve and engage tangata whenua, regional councils, marine biodiversity interest groups and the users and stakeholders whose use of marine areas may be affected by MPAs. The Department and the Ministry will service the forums with information, advice, facilitation and guidance. It is expected that relevant agencies will develop and maintain a separate dialogue with tangata whenua.10

The South-East Forum met these expectations. DOC and MPI worked together to ensure that the South-East Forum was made up of a broad range of stakeholders. They also worked to ensure that the process was flexible for iwi to be involved in a way that worked for them. We also saw evidence that the South-East Forum was adequately supported to collect the views of the public, and that those views were fed back to the South-East Forum.

A formal recruitment process was used when setting up the South-East Forum, through which members of the public could apply to become a member. Applications were assessed against set criteria to decide on an applicant’s suitability. DOC and MPI worked together to ensure that there was adequate representation for different groups that have an interest in the marine environment of the south-east coast of the country.

As a result of this process, the South-East Forum involved a full range of stakeholders. There were two recreational fishing, three commercial fishing, one environmental, one science, one community, and three Ngāi Tahu representatives, with three alternative members and an independent chairperson. Those we spoke with generally felt the representation was appropriate, and we agree.

The South-East Forum gathered feedback before preparing their consultation approach. This was part of its efforts to create an inclusive process. The public was given the opportunity to provide their views through a consultation process. DOC supported the South-East Forum through this submission process. Submissions were received online and on paper, allowing a wide range of people to submit their views.

We heard from a Rūnanga representative that they were engaged as Treaty partners. The first meeting of the South-East Forum was held at the Ōtākou Marae in Dunedin. The Forum members we spoke with felt that this was significant and it helped to reinforce the important role tāngata whenua play in these types of processes.

In our view, having members that broadly represented the stakeholders, collecting views from the public, and ensuring that tāngata whenua were represented and involved demonstrated how the expectations of the MPA policy for inclusiveness were met for the South-East Forum.

Te Korowai met its community’s expectations for inclusiveness

Te Korowai involved a broad range of stakeholders and interested parties. Building relationships and having a shared vision among participants were prioritised during its early stages. In our view, these efforts helped to create an inclusive environment that supported compromise among members.

Te Korowai involved the range of stakeholders that the community felt needed to be involved. The Rūnanga wanted it to be truly representative of the local community. We were told that they wanted local solutions to the local problems facing the environment. The Rūnanga was the driving force of Te Korowai.

Members also included representatives from Forest and Bird; the recreational fishing, commercial fishing, and tourism sectors; and a local government staff member who represented the local community. Some parties were not involved initially but became more closely involved over time, such as the University of Canterbury. People we spoke with considered representation to be generally appropriate and told us that they appreciated being able to contribute.

Building relationships

From the beginning of the process, Te Korowai put a strong emphasis on building relationships. These relationships helped to keep the process going during the long period that led to passing the Kaikōura (Te Tai ō Marokura) Marine Management Act 2014. Having established relationships, where the views of all involved were respected and included, also helped to ensure that the process remained inclusive.

One of the ways relationships were established and maintained was by holding the meetings on the Takahanga Marae in Kaikōura. Ngāti Kuri of Ngāi Tahu provided meals at these meetings as their contribution to the project. Members of Te Korowai told us they built relationships over these shared meals because differences in opinion seemed less significant when people were sharing a meal together.

A member of Te Korowai told us that:

it is hard to stay angry at each other over a kai. After a while, we would still disagree, but we liked each other [as people] and I think thatwas genuine. [Achieving that atmosphere] took leadership and the Rūnanga provided that by deliberately taking the welcoming approach.

We were also told that “it probably took three years for all of us to stop talking past each other. Once we built that trust, we started to make progress.”

Because Te Korowai was made up of locals, relationships were easier to strengthen and maintain. We were told that people were less likely to be unreasonable during meetings when they knew they might see each other at the supermarket. In our view, this relationship building was an important reason for keeping the group together through the process.

Te Korowai’s shared vision

The shared vision of Te Korowai – to establish a more sustainable environment for the community – was clear from the beginning. This shared vision was understood and agreed by all involved, and was expressed in the shared vision that Te Korowai prepared early in its process. We were told that it was easy for members to agree to this shared vision because they all wanted a more sustainable marine environment for Kaikōura.

The shared vision also acted as a “circuit breaker” when people disagreed. Members could always go back to their intent and purpose and generally people could work out disagreements. We were told that when discussions got heated the facilitator could point to their shared vision, which was displayed during meetings, to keep members focused.

In our view, having this shared vision and purpose created a strong foundation for Te Korowai to work from. It also facilitated a process that participants thought genuinely considered the views and values associated with the Kaikōura marine environment.

Clear roles and responsibilities support inclusiveness

There were clear protocols for how Te Korowai was to operate. In our view, these models helped to make the process inclusive.

Te Korowai used an “egg model” for working out roles and responsibilities (see Figure 3). Local groups directly involved with the coastal marine area were the yolk of the egg. Agency and authority members of Te Korowai responsible for managing aspects of the coastal marine area played a support role, and they were the white of the egg.

Despite the South-East Forum’s terms of reference and internal protocol to guide it, there was uncertainty and debate about the roles and responsibilities of the members, the chairperson, and officials. This uncertainty contributed to tension and frustrations, further undermining collaboration between members.

The South-East Forum members were also unclear about their own role in the process. Some felt they were there because of their experience and because they were able to make decisions. Others saw themselves as delegates working on behalf of the sector they represented. This lack of clarity about roles contributed to frustrations, delays, and a lack of cohesion.

There was also some ambiguity understanding the roles of DOC and MPI, including at the governance level. We were told by a member of the South-East Forum governance group that governance meetings were often taken up by debate about roles and responsibilities rather than providing direction on decision-making. We saw examples of members getting conflicting advice from DOC and MPI.

At times, focusing on roles and responsibilities and understanding them, alongside debating the South-East Forum’s purpose, made the process inefficient. In particular, it diverted time and resources away from working towards an outcome that could be supported by all.

In contrast, the egg model used by Te Korowai helped members to clearly determine roles and responsibilities and allowed the group to consider the views and interests of all involved (see Figure 3).

Figure 3
Egg model for Te Korowai

The egg model consists of an outer circle (the white) and an inner circle (the yolk). The outer circle consists of members playing a support role. The inner circle consists of members who are directly involved in the process.

Figure 3 - Egg model for Te Korowai.

Source: Adapted from Te Korowai o Te Tai ō Marokura, Kaikōura Coastal Marine Guardians (2012), Kaikōura Marine Strategy 2012: Sustaining our sea, page 14.

All Te Korowai members we spoke with understood the egg model. In our view, this was one of the main strengths of the process, because all those involved understood:

  • each other’s roles;
  • how to approach disagreements; and
  • what was expected of them and others.

10: Department of Conservation and Ministry of Fisheries (2005), Marine Protected Areas: Policy and Implementation Plan, Wellington, page 23.