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Investing in whānau and whenua

By Kuru Ketu - June 2019

Earlier this year, Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced the Government’s Whenua Māori Programme to address the complex and challenging regulatory environment that Māori freehold landowners deal with.  The Government has committed $56.1 million over four years to address this.

Minister Nanaia Mahuta says that the “focus is on stimulating social and economic development through the 1.4 million hectares of whenua Māori that remains in Māori freehold title”.

The Whenua Māori Programme is a strategic investment into Māori freehold landowners and their whānau and the development of whenua Māori.  It recognises the need for a range of support to assist Māori landowners achieving their aspirations for their Whenua. 

The Whenua Māori Programme will support owners who are establishing ownership interests and governance structures, through to owners who are ready to expand their operations and seek opportunities.  This includes those landowners who are ready to apply to the Provincial Growth Fund.

Other key initiatives are:

  • Regional Whenua Advisory Services in Te Tai Tokerau, Waiariki, and Te Tairāwhiti to provide specialised support that assists Māori landowners to progress their development goals
  • A Whenua Knowledge Hub & Website that provides up-to-date land information to support whenua investment, planning and landowner aspirations
  • New, modernised and enhanced Māori Land Court technology that will support future legislative changes and greater online functionality
  • Amendments to Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993
  • New and improved Court Services

The Government will introduce amendments to Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 into Parliament later this year.  The amendments will focus on improving services in the Māori Land Court, simplifying the succession process and establishing a dispute resolution mechanism.

Justice Minister Andrew Little says the changes proposed to the Māori Land Court will better support landowners to Access-to-Justice Services.  He says that “the introduction of a tikanga-focussed dispute resolution service offers Māori landowners a way to settle matters outside of a formal court hearing.”

Minister Nanaia Mahuta says that “this is an exciting and ambitious programme that I expect will significantly lift the intergenerational wellbeing of Māori landowners, their descendants and their regions for many years to come.”

For more information about the Whenua Māori Programme, visit: www.beehive.govt.nz/release/delivering-m%C4%81ori-and-whenua

Kuru is a Solicitor in our Māori Legal Team and can be contacted on 07 958 7574.