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Mana whenua consultation for filming permissions

When planning to film in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, productions are expected to engage with mana whenua involving them in the consultation process which builds relationships. The legal term for Māori groups as they relate to engagement with Auckland Council is ‘mana whenua’ (spiritual and cultural authorities of the land). Whereas in conversation most groups prefer to be referred to as ‘iwi’ (tribes), ‘hapū’ (sub-tribes) and tangata whenua. 

Cultural guidance & collaboration

Mana whenua possess invaluable cultural knowledge. Engaging with them allows you to seek guidance and collaborate for cultural accuracy throughout production.  

Engaging with mana whenua in Auckland goes beyond a formality; it fosters respect, relationships, and an authentic representation of the region's cultural heritage in your production. 

Waka on Auckland Harbour
Why engaging with Mana Whenua matters

Cultural sensitivity and respect
Mana whenua's deep connection to the land and cultural heritage should be respected. Engaging with them ensures a culturally authentic representation and navigates sensitivities. 

Notifications and information sharing
Early engagement allows you to inform mana whenua about your filming plans and enables them to share insights, historical significance, and concerns about the locations.

Seeking permission approvals 
Mana whenua play a vital role in granting permission for filming on their ancestral lands. Engaging with them shows commitment to obtaining approvals in a culturally appropriate manner, preserving the location's integrity.

Relationship building and trust 
Engaging fosters relationships, understanding of cultural heritage, and potential collaborations for future storytelling opportunities.


Learn more about our culture and the indigenous tribes of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

Learn more

Man and woman hongi with Auckland City in background

Kia pai tō mahi, kia pai tō haerenga. Toitū te whenua.

Go well in your work, go well on your journey. Let the permanence of the land remain intact.

Navigating Location Permissions
Maunga (mountain) locations

Before seeking permission to film, Screen Auckland recommends that Location Managers consider if the location where they wish to shoot on is either one of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s maunga (mountains) or sites and places of significance to mana whenua. 

If in doubt, please contact us to check your location’s status.

Mana whenua consultation tool

If your shoot is for general filming that does not involve maunga (mountains) or sites and places of significance to mana whenua, you will be invited to use the Mana Whenua Consultation Tool in your application. 

This resource tool serves as a bridge between your production and the rich cultural heritage associated with the locations you wish to capture. Mana Whenua consultation should begin early to allow time for feedback and consideration, avoiding potential delays in the permitting process. 

Building bridges with iwi for filming permissions 

Some sites will require written support by iwi to film there, and your Film Facilitator will let you know if this is the case when you submit an application. 

Prepare a clear and comprehensive message outlining the nature of your shoot and why you would like to use that location. Be mindful of the cultural sensitivity surrounding the land and express your commitment to honouring the heritage and protocols associated with it.  

Gaining support: crafting your message

Provide details about the proposed dates, duration, and any potential impacts on the environment or community. 

Ensure your message conveys sincerity, respect, and a genuine desire to collaborate. Proper consultation processes can come with a cost and in some instances, a cultural induction, pōwhiri, karakia or koha may be requested. 

By engaging in meaningful dialogue, you can create a mutually beneficial partnership. It is likely that once the iwi has observed you and your production company conduct your business, future filming permissions could become smoother.  

Ensuring ongoing collaboration

Please note that while the Mana Whenua Consultation Tool initiates initial engagement, ongoing direct communication with iwi is crucial. Maintain open dialogue throughout the entire process, to ensure ongoing collaboration and respect for iwi cultural knowledge and authority.


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