Tuahiwi MR873, Kaiapoi, Canterbury, New Zealand



Mana-Waitaha Charitable Trust

The Tuahiwi Maori Reserve (MR873) in Kaiapoi, Canterbury, is a living indictment of the systemic disenfranchisement of Maori from their land.  Their unique agreement with the Crown (Kemp’s Deed, 1848) allowed for individual title of their land for Maori owners and their descendants. Over generations this right has been progressively eroded until current District Plan rules effectively disabled Ngai Tuahuriri from being able to use their land for self-advancement.

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The Council were committed to restoring that right, but required it to be done within the framework of the District Plan. Common Ground were initially asked to protect development rights that were at risk of being lost through Council-initiated changes to zoning. It was also asked to investigate alternative development and land-use options that could generally fit within the Policies and Objectives of the District Plan to enable Ngai Tuahuriri to protect their customary right and strengthen their identity, culture and economic position.


This was an important issue in the post-earthquake Christchurch environment where many iwi members were seeking to return to their family lands.


As the project progressed, it was clear that coordinated development provided the mechanism for the iwi to recover lost land and grow their community in a sustainable and enriching way.  Resolving the conflict between residential development and the protection of productive land led to a new model of rural community housing complexes (hamlets) that could be applied over long time frames without diminishing the sustainability of their assets.  It proved itself as a model that would work independent of the original cultural and community imperative for both local Ngai Tuahuriri and the wider rural environment.

  • Land Use Assessment
  • Urban Design
  • Masterplanning
  • Architectural Guidance
  • Landscape Frameworks
  • Stakeholder Engagement

Project Value:

$NZ 60M (2014)

Value of Services Provided:

$NZ 80,000

Added Value:

  • New models for clustered rural housing
  • Strategy for re-acquiring land
  • A framework for future development
  • Historic land right re-established for descendants of original Treaty signatories
  • Strategy for reconsolidation of land and coordinated land use management
  • Revitalisation / intensification of village core
  • New models for clustered rural housing
  • Strategy for re-acquiring land
  • Submissions to Land Use Recovery Plan
  • Framework for future development
  • Identification of economic catalysts and potential partnerships