Buddle Findlay

Paul leads the Buddle Findlay’s resource management and Māori law team in Wellington where he specialises in resource management planning and consenting processes, Māori law and Treaty settlement negotiations.

He appears in a range of courts, tribunals and boards of inquiry on RMA and Māori law cases and appeals.  His primary areas of RMA practice are large infrastructure designation and consenting processes, and regional and district planning processes.  Paul also has extensive experience collaborating and negotiating with Māori and advising on Māori law issues and relationship frameworks.  He has been a member of the core Crown negotiation and drafting teams on over 40 Treaty of Waitangi settlements, including in Te Tau Ihu (Nelson/Marlborough) where he led the drafting of the 8 deeds of settlement.  His recent involvement has included the design, drafting and negotiation of the novel 'legal personality' approaches adopted for Te Urewera (Tūhoe) and the Whanganui River, and currently in the negotiations over Mt Taranaki. His particular specialty is designing and negotiating co-governance, co-management and relationship frameworks between the Crown, local government and Māori.  

Paul was the independent chair of the Stakeholder Working Group for the Sea Change - Tai Timu Tai Pari marine spatial planning process in the Hauraki Gulf, and the independent chair of the Subantarctic Marine Protection Planning Forum. 


Legal Personality and Natural Resources - Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River) and Te Urewera (Tūhoe)

Presenting with Hera Smith

Having been forced to prove association with the rivers, lands and maunga through narrow, compartmentalised and foreign philosophical and legal constructs for over a century, the Te Aō Māori relationship with nature has now been acknowledged and recognised in law.  This is through first principles based on innate values that stem from kawa (philosophical, cultural and spiritual worldviews).

There has been significant progress made between Iwi/Māori and the Crown in negotiating and establishing novel models for recognising, governing and managing natural resources. 
This has included a far stronger focus on Te Aō Māori – the Māori worldview and values as they relate to natural resources, and partnership based models such as through co-governance entities.
One particular innovation has been the adoption of a ‘legal personality’ approach to natural resources.
This session will cover: 

  • An overview of the novel natural resources models adopted through Treaty settlements in Aotearoa

  • An overview of the legal personality models and elements for Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River) and Te Urewera (Tūhoe)

  • An explanation of the implementation process for those models 

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