The Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari project was a large and ambitious undertaking aimed at addressing a complex problem that involved many overlapping interests. A collaborative approach can be useful for solving these kinds of problems. The project required significant commitment from local and central government agencies and representatives of the stakeholder-led collaborative group.
In many ways, the project was a successful example of a stakeholder-led collaborative approach. It resulted in a completed plan with general support from those who prepared it.
However, the plan is not easy for the central and local government agencies to implement, and those involved in the project are frustrated at the lack of progress in implementing the plan. We have identified aspects of the Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari project that, if done better, would have made implementing the plan easier:
The agencies were not as involved in developing the marine spatial plan as they could have been. There needed to be a balance between giving the stakeholder-led collaborative group enough independence while still having the right amount of involvement from the agencies.
There needed to be more communication and discussion of the plan with stakeholders as it neared completion. Because there was not as much engagement as there could have been, not all of the stakeholder groups agreed with the final plan.
Towards the end of the project, and when the plan had been finished, there was little discussion with the community about it. The plan could have benefited from wider communication and, from that, gained wider support from the community.
When the project was set up, certain matters, such as setting an appropriate scope, needed to be considered so the central and local government agencies could easily implement the plan.
The agencies could also have prepared for how they would implement the plan, including how they would work together with other organisations and stakeholders, and what the role of mana whenua would be.