Abstract|| The vesting of pounamu back to Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu brings to the fore a whole new dimension of resource mangement to New Zealandís wider resource management environment. As is highlighted in this study and noted by a number of academics, Maori people, like other indigenous communities, have their own planning systems values and appropriate processes for decision-making about the environment. But the relevance of such indigenous management systems has long been overlooked by the decision makers and authorities to the continued frustration and anxiety of indigenous peoples. This lack of recognition has been at the fore as a concept fundamental to many indigenous peoples grievances, both past and present. The subsequent vesting of pounamu has brought about the validation that Maori have to resource management rights.
In identifying issues associated with the management of natural resources by indigenous peoples, this study provides an examination of number theoretical concepts and a practical dimension associated with the management of natural resources by indigenous peoples and has placed pounamu in context. The placement of pounamu in context has provided the basis from which a number of central issues were identified and discussed.
A combination a literature study, analysis of an application traditional knowledge in a contemporary context and in-depth interviews and liaison with key stakeholders involved directly and indirectly in the management of pounmau were undertaken, has established that the management of natural resources by indigenous people is more about the management of number of associated processes rather than about the management of a single commodity, in this instance pounamu. Within these processes there exist a number of complex relationships that reflect the fundamental transaction of power and privilege associated with natural resource management. Further conclusions that this study has made, is the increasing need and importance of legislatures and planning professionals alike to further recognise the validity and become familiar with alternate methods of resource management and the application of indigenous systems and methods.