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Te Whakawhanake Papakaainga

Are you interested in developing your papakaainga in the Waikato District? Find out the process, attend workshops and see what rules apply here.

Papakaainga developments can create opportunities to provide affordable, secure housing for whaanau and hapuu allowing connection to whenua. Papakaainga are not soley focused on housing, are vital for marae sustainability and can provide employment opportunities. The shared use of whenua for housing and other purposes is the key difference between papakaainga and general housing.

How we can help

Developing papakaainga is a lengthy process that requires lots of communication, hui, planning, navigating and paperwork before even getting to the build stage.

We are here to help where we can, or to point you to where you need to go, depending on what stage you are at.

Contact our Duty Planner service to find out what underlying rules may apply to your whenua, submit your enquiry online.

What is a Papakaainga?
Papakaainga is a term describing housing on ancestral Maaori land and can include other activities associated with the nature and function of the papakaainga. For example, a marae, shared gardens, or commercial activities that provide jobs and income to support those living in the papakaainga.  
What council fees and charges apply?

There are costs associated with obtaining both resource and building consents from your local council. Usually a deposit fee is required and the remaining costs are assessed by charging for the actual and reasonable time taken and for any site visits or inspections required. You can find a link to the current fees and charges on this page.

See our Fees and charges page for more information.

What are development contribution fees?

Development contributions are required for papakaainga developments as a contribution towards infrastructure such as roads, and community facilities including parks and libraries.

See our Development contributions page for more information.

Please check with our development contributions team on 0800 492 452 for further information on development contributions.

They will be able to give you an estimate of what your development contributions may be once you have an idea of what you are wanting to develop.

District plan rules for whenua Maaori

The (proposed) Waikato District Plan (the plan) is currently under appeal, however, parts of it will soon become operative. New, more enabling rules regarding Maaori land, particularly in developing Papakaainga, are included.

The definition of Maaori land in the District Plan means Maaori freehold land, Maaori customary land, Maaori reservation or Treaty settlement land.

What do some of the plan changes mean?

  • Instead of having Paa Zones – where maps identified where Papakaainga could be built, Maaori purpose activities are listed in the plan (which includes papakaainga development) and are permitted in any zone if the whenua is Maaori Land as per the above definitions in the Plan.
  • There are now no limits on the size, building height or number of houses able to be built for papakaainga.
  • However, while Maaori Purpose Activities are PERMITTED ACTIVITIES all buildings must still have a building consent, pay development contributions and some activities may require resource consent where underlying zone rules apply.

Learn more about the district planning rules for whenua Maaori here.

What are Maaori purpose activites?
  • Marae and associated facilities
  • Papakaainga housing development
  • Papakaainga buildings
  • Cultural events
  • Urupaa
  • Tuaahu
  • Waharoa
  • Church
  • Hauora
  • Koohanga
  • Conference centre and facilities
  • Waananga
  • Recreation facilities, and
  • Papa taakaro
What zone rules do not apply to Maaori land?
  • Outfall structures located within an Identified Area
  • Vehicle access for all activities
  • On-site parking and loading
  • On-site manoeuvring and queuing
  • Number of residential units;
  • Minor residential unit rules;
  • Buildings and structures in Landscape and Natural Character Areas
  • Building height; and
  • Building coverage
What is the difference between a building and resource consent?

 Building Consents

Almost all building construction and drainage work will require a building consent.

A building consent is a formal approval granted by your local council to show that your building work meets the requirements of the Building Code. This makes sure that your building is safe and meets the right technical standards.

The requirements of the Building Code (and building consents) are mainly to ensure buildings are constructed in a manner that provides for the wellbeing of occupants and guests.

Alongside a building consent, additional permits may also be required. For example if a new vehicle entrance is to be created onto a public road, or a connection is required to public utilities (if available).

Resource Consents

A resource consent may also be required for your papakaainga development.

A resource consent is a formal approval granted by your council to breach a rule in a plan. Each district and region have plans. These state what you can do on your whenua without a resource consent. The requirements of plan rules (and resource consents) is mainly to ensure buildings and site works are constructed in a manner that provides for the wellbeing of the wider community.

This makes sure that development does not adversely affect the environment, your neighbours and wider community.

Resource consents may be required from both our Council and Waikato Regional Council.

Additional resources

Want to know more?

Our Council are committed to helping whaanau realise their papakaainga dreams and to increase the utilisation of Maaori whenua by assisting where we can.

We also hold collaborative workshops with Waikato-Tainui, Māori Land Court, Te Puni Kokiri and MHUD.

If you would like any further information please email us on

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