At What Stage of the Consent Process Should a Cultural Impact Assessment be Prepared?

Early is best. Applicants should be encouraged to contact tangata whenua at least at the pre-application stage, but preferably during the concept formulation stage.

See Pre-application advice to an applicant for more information.

Commissioning a CIA early in the application process can assist in developing the proposal and preparing a complete application. Early input could also provide opportunity for iwi/hapū to influence or have input into the design and planning of projects to address potential adverse effects on cultural values before commitments are finalised. Thus a CIA may be a staged process, with the final assessment taking into account the early consultation and input. It allows time for a report to be prepared and potential effects on cultural values to be considered and incorporated into the proposal. Preparing a CIA early in the process allows the opportunity for a relationship to develop between the applicant and tangata whenua.

Other reports or research that may be commissioned for the consent application may be useful for the preparation of a CIA, as these may identify effects that may need to be considered in the CIA (e.g. technical reports such as a marine ecology survey, or water quality sampling results). Coordinating the timing of such reports is important.

However, a CIA can be prepared at any stage of the consent process and can be commissioned by various parties including:

  • an applicant can request a CIA directly from the iwi/hapū.

  • the council can suggest the applicant contact the tangata whenua of the area/site subject to an application if the scale and nature of the activity is likely to have an impact on their cultural associations with the environment

  • an iwi or hapū may approach the council or the applicant, after becoming aware of a resource consent application, to advise that a CIA is necessary to identify and assess the effects of the application on tangata whenua

  • any of the parties can request a CIA in response to the accidental discovery of artefacts or other taonga (valued possessions) or sites of significance to tangata whenua during unconsented works or during the early stages of a consented activity

  • the council can request the applicant to commission a CIA to provide further information under s92. See Requesting further information.

  • A hearings panel or commissioners can request that further information be provided during a hearing, under s41C.

  • The EPA can request information or commission a report, under s149.