Māori Land Service case studies underway

The Māori Land Service Programme has begun working with Māori land owners on regional case studies that will help inform the advisory and development services that may be offered in the future by the Māori Land Service (MLS).

Published: Thursday, 3 August 2017 | Rāpare, 03 Hereturikōkā, 2017

Te Tai Rāwhiti is the first region where the MLS Programme has partnered up with Māori land owners and iwi organisations in Te Tai Rāwhiti to gain in-depth knowledge of challenges and opportunities for local Māori land owners.

“Te Tai Rāwhiti is one of the priority regions for the Māori Land Service with over a quarter of the region being Māori freehold land,” Rachel Jones, Māori Land Service Engagement Lead, said.

“The case study will cover the area from Ōpōtiki to Muriwai/Paritū (to the south of Te Kurī a Pāoa/Young Nicks Head). There are around 270,000 hectares of Māori land, and over 5,000 land blocks. This means there is an enormous amount of insight and knowledge we hope to be able to draw on from land owners in the region.”

The case study continues the principle of co-designing the Māori Land Service with Māori land owners, which has already seen 50 wānanga nationwide. It will be managed by the Gisborne-based Te Rūnanga o Tūranganui-a-Kiwa with the support of other local iwi organisations.

The case study will involve extensive research into Māori land in the region at the level of individual land blocks. It will be looking for insights from land owners through hui as well as gathering together existing data and records.

It will collect information on the characteristics of land blocks in the area and how that differs from other regions, how owners can access capital, what services are already available and how they are or are not working for Māori land owners.

“This is a ‘boots on the ground’, practical investigation of exactly how the new Māori Land Service will best be able to help the Māori land owners of Te Tai Rāwhiti meet their aspirations for their land when it opens its doors,” Mrs Jones said. “I would like to encourage all land owners to take part and share their experience.”

Hui open to all land owners in Te Tai Rāwhiti began in early July with 16 hui held to date.  A further eight hui will take place next week from Manutuke to Ōpōtiki. Each of the seven catchments in the region has appointed kaitiaki to oversee the project, and kaiāwhina to keep land owners in each rohe up to date with the case study.

The Māori Land Service is currently being established to support Māori land owners under Te Ture Whenua Bill, which is now expected to be passed by Parliament after the General Election.

You can find out more about the development of the Māori Land Service at http://www.tpk.govt.nz/en/whakamahia/maori-land-service/

Questions and Answers

What is the purpose of the case study?

The purpose of the case studies is to get an understanding at the level of individual land blocks of how the Māori Land Service will be able to assist land owners in regions like Te Tai Rāwhiti which have significant Māori land. The case studies will look in to options for the utilisation of their whenua, whether for economic, cultural, conservation or any other purpose. The results of the case studies will inform the establishment of the Māori Land Service’s advisory and development services.

What exactly will the cases study partners be doing?

The case study will:

  • collect the views and experiences of land owners in specific regions with accessing economic land services, what they have found to work and what hasn’t, and what opportunities there are for improvement
  • engage with key stakeholders
  • describe the Māori freehold land in the area through collecting and assessing the usefulness of existing datasets, and identifying opportunities for improved or new data
  • identify and map all services currently available in the region which could potentially improve productivity or profitability of land, identify any duplication and/or inconsistency
  • identify strategic alignments between existing economic development strategies and potential MLS services
  • outline expected regional productivity gains and investment returns.

Why is Te Puni Kōkiri partnering with local iwi organisations?

Co-designing with Māori land owners is an important principle of the development of the Māori Land Service. The contractual partners for case studies were chosen because they have demonstrated support from local land owners and iwi. They have the capability to meet the goals of the case study including delivering research, coordinating wānanga and allowing the voices and experiences of land owners in Te Tai Rāwhiti to be heard.

Will those contracted iwi organisations be a service provider for the Māori Land Service when it opens its doors?

The case study will inform the final design of the advisory and development services provided by the Māori Land Service when it commences, eighteen months after the passage of Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill. No final decisions have been made about the delivery of services by the Māori Land Service.

When will the case study take place?

Te Tai Rāwhiti case study began last month (July ’17). The research phase will last around two months, and will inform further decisions about the Māori Land Service. The case study will continue in order to fine tune details about the delivery of services.

When will the other three regional case studies begin and where are they?

Te Puni Kōkiri is finalising arrangements with local iwi providers in Te Tai Tokerau, Waiariki and Aotea. These case studies will start over the next month and will follow a similar timeframe to the case study in Te Tai Rāwhiti.