This guide is number 4.2 in a 13-guide series called An Everyday Guide to the RMA.

Publication reference number: ME 1541

This guide provides a summary of the mediation process to help you participate in and prepare for mediation in the Environment Court under the Resource Management Act (RMA).


The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) sets out the framework for regional and local councils to manage activities and effects on the environment. The overall purpose is to promote sustainable management of resources. This involves considering how our activities affect the environment now and in the future.

The RMA also enables councils to regulate land use and the provision of infrastructure, which are essential parts of New Zealand’s planning system.

The RMA means that regional and local councils set rules and requirements to manage activities ranging from building houses, clearing vegetation, moving earth, taking water from a stream, or burning rubbish. The purpose of the rules are to ensure activities won’t harm our neighbours or communities, or damage the air, water, soil, and ecosystems that we and future generations need to survive.

The RMA allows you to participate in certain decisions by your local council about the environment, and in some instances allows you to appeal these decisions to the Environment Court.

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution, designed to help people resolve a matter, without needing to go to court.

Mediation can help you to clarify issues, resolve conflicts and reach agreement.

About this guide

This guide is the 12th in a series of 13 guides called An Everyday Guide to the RMA (see more details about the series below).

This guide is a practical summary of the mediation process, to help you participate in and prepare for mediation in the Environment Court. It is intended for anyone who is a party to an appeal in the court, and explains:

  • how mediation sits in the framework of the Resource Management Act
  • how you may be required to participate in mediation
  • how to decide whether mediation is right for you.

It also covers:

  • how to prepare for mediation
  • what you can expect at mediated meetings
  • the appropriate behaviour for all parties
  • what happens after the mediation process ends
  • where you can go for further information.

The guide has a glossary of RMA terms at the end.

About the everyday guides

This guide is one in a series of 13 called An Everyday Guide to the RMA. The series is intended to help people work with their councils. If you’re dealing with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), a board of inquiry, or the Environment Court (see the glossary to learn more about these), you might need more technical advice from the EPA website or the Environment Court website.

For more information about specific parts of the RMA process, see the full list of guides on our website.

Everyday Guides Series

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