Maori in Hawke's Bay have applauded a regional council decision to establish a new planning committee to give Maori a greater say in the management of natural resources.
The committee's first meeting on April 10 included all nine regional councillors and representatives from up to nine groups making claims under the Treaty of Waitangi.
It's the culmination of several years of discussions between iwi groups and the council, says Tania Hopmans from Maungaharuru-Tangitu Iwi Inc .
A key aspiration for hapu and iwi is co-governance and co-management of natural resources such as water, and Ms Hopmans says it's "huge" for Maori to help councillors develop policies and plans under the Resource Management Act.
She says that the committee's success will be determined by the extent to which policies it produces benefit the environment and communities.