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Dr April Bennett

Lecturer - Maori Environmental & Resource Planning

School of People, Environment and Planning

Dr April Bennett (Tūwharetoa, Waikato, Tūhoe, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga) is the inaugural Lecturer in Māori Resource and Environmental Planning.  She has been working and studying in this field for 15 years.  She has a PhD in Planning, a Master of Philosophy in Planning, a Post-graduate Diploma in Māori Resource Development and a BA in Māori Studies.   In her doctoral research she examined how power structures iwi contributions to freshwater planning and decision-making using a case study of the Manawatū River. 

Outside the university, April has worked in Parliament for the Primary Production and Local Government and Environment select committees, in the Maruwhenua Group in the Ministry for the Environment, and for the Waikato Regional Council coordinating a sustainable development strategy for the Lake Taupō catchment.  She maintains close connections with one of her hapū, Ngāti Te Maunga, and serves on the Committee of Management for their incorporation, Hauhungaroa 2C. 

April has been a member of 2 multi-disciplinary teams that have conducted research for Waitangi Tribunal claimants in the Raukawa and Te Rohe Pōtae inquiry districts.  On the latter inquiry, she appeared before the tribunal as a technical witness. 

April has supervised several Honours and Masters students, mostly in the Māori Resource and Environmental Planning area, but some outside.  April is a 2014 alumni of the New Zealand Women in Leadership Programme, and is one of the kaikaranga for Massey University.  

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Research Expertise

Research Interests

Māori and the environment

Power and collaboration

Bourdieusian theories of power

Politics of freshwater planning


Resource Development and Management

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Built Environment And Design (120000): Land Use and Environmental Planning (120504): Urban and Regional Planning (120500)

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Team Member 0 1

Research Outputs


Bennett, AL., & Gibbs, M. (2007). Māori claims to ownership of freshwater. Resource Management Journal. (August 2007), 13-18 Retrieved from
[Journal article]Authored by: Bennett, A.
Gibbs, MK., & Bennett, AL. (2007). Maori claims to ownership of freshwater. Resource Management Journal. , 13-18
[Journal article]Authored by: Bennett, A.


Bennett, AL. (2010). Uncharted waters - recent settlements as new spaces for enhancing Māori participation in fresh-water management and decision making. In R. Selby, P. Moore, & M. Mulholland (Eds.) Māori and the environment: kaitiaki. (pp. 175 - 184). Wellington: Huia Publishers
[Chapter]Authored by: Bennett, A.


Bennett, AL. (2015). The good fight: power and the indigenous struggle for the Manawatū River. (Doctoral Thesis)
[Doctoral Thesis]Authored by: Bennett, A.Edited by: Cheyne, C.


Belgrave, M., Belgrave, DC., Procter, J., Bennett, A., & Young, G. (2013). Written Answers to Written Questions of Clarification In respect of the Witness’ following Evidential Reports: i. Wai 898 #A64 Te Rohe Pōtae Harbours and Coast, Inland Waterways, Indigenous Flora and Fauna, Sites of Significance, Environmental Impacts Scoping Report, dated March 2010; and ii. Wai 898 #A76 Te Rohe Pōtae Environment and Wāhi Tapu Report, dated August 2011.. ( Report No. Wai 898, #A64(c) and Wai 898, #A76(g)). Waitangi Tribunal.
[Commissioned Report]Authored by: Belgrave, M., Procter, J.
Bennett, AL., Belgrave, M., Belgrave, D., Anderson, C., James, A., Millner, J., . . . Gardiner, S.(2010). Te Rohe Potae harbours and coast, inland waterways, indigenous flora and fauna, sites of significance and environmental management and environmental impacts scoping report: a report commissioned by the Crown Forestry Rental Trust for the Waitangi Tribunal's Rohe Potae inquiry district.
[Technical Report]Authored by: Bennett, A.
Belgrave, MP., Bennett, AL., Millner, JP., James, A., Anderson, C., Belgrave, DC., . . . Joy, MK.(2008). Raukawa waterways and environmental impact.
[Technical Report]Authored by: Anderson, C., Belgrave, D., Belgrave, M., Bennett, A., Joy, M., Millner, J., Procter, J., Watson, J.
Black, TT., Jenkins, M., Bennett, AL., Lilley, SC., Christensen, IS., Hemera, RR., . . . White, CJ. (2004). Matua Reo Kaupapa Report. Matua Reo Kaupapa Working Party.
[Commissioned Report]Authored by: Bennett, A., Lilley, S., Palmer, F., White, C.


Bennett, AL. (2012). Ka manawatū te awa, ka manawa ora te iwi: power and Māori engagement in decisions about the Manawatū River. , A taste of things to come: 2012 NZPI (New Zealand Planning Institute Conference): New Zealand Planning Institute
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Bennett, A.


Bennett, AL. (2013, September). Stakes and strategies in the struggle for the Manawatū River.
[Oral Presentation]Authored by: Bennett, A.
Bennett, AL. (2013, February). Co-management: not just a solution to pollution.
[Oral Presentation]Authored by: Bennett, A.
Bennett, AL. (2011, November). Ka manawatū te awa, ka manawa ora te iwi: power and Māori engagement in decisions about the Manawatū River. In Members of the public at the Palmerston North City Library.
[Oral Presentation]Authored by: Bennett, A.

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