Amongst those achievements I can count: the launch of the Whenua Māori Fund, the first of the He kai kei aku ringa regional hui held in a nation-wide series, the second reading of the Pire Reo Māori (Māori Language Bill), and progress on both Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill, and the Māori Housing Network.
Te Ture Whenua Māori
As part of the wider reform of Te Ture Whenua Māori, I launched the Whenua Māori Fund in February. This pūtea is for Māori land owners to explore how they might get better returns from their whenua, either by changing how they utilise their land or by increasing production.
The fund can also be used to help assess land use capability, explore potential/productivity and identify improved land management practises. Applications are open now and you can find more information in the story included in this edition of Kōkiritia.
An updated draft of Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill was presented at information hui around the motu. The purpose of this round of wānanga has been to explain major changes that have been made to the Bill. It has also been an opportunity to discuss the wider reform programme including the development of the Māori Land Service, the decisions over valuations and ratings for whenua Māori as well as the opening of the Whenua Māori Fund.
The reform of Te Ture Whenua Māori has always been about two things: making it easier for Māori land owners to make their own decisions about how their land is governed and used, and protecting the status of whenua Māori as a taonga tuku iho. The draft Bill can be viewed on the Te Puni Kōkiri website.
Power up the Takitimu Economy
In partnership with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Treasury, Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and the Ministry for Primary Industries, Te Puni Kōkiri hosted the first of eight regional He Kai Kei Aku Ringa hui held in Napier. Working alongside Ngāti Kahungunu, the partnership organised the hui, ‘Power up the Takitimu economy’. The presentations included how the national strategy for Māori economic development, He Kai Kei Aku Ringa can complement regional economic development as well as an opportunity for local people to share their inspirational stories.
I was inspired by one such Ngāti Kahungunu descendant, Melissa Raharuhi, who spoke about borrowing money to learn web development programming at the Enspiral Dev Academy. This led to her success in securing employment with the country’s biggest ICT company, Datacom.
Te Pire Reo Māori
The historic Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill is one step closer to being enacted after it passed its second reading in Parliament recently. It will be the first Bill to be enacted in both te reo Māori and English, with the Māori version prevailing in the event of any conflict between the two versions.
We have come a long way since former Minister of Māori Affairs Hon Koro Wetere introduced the Māori Language Bill in 1987. Minister Wetere opened with a mihi and was interrupted by several points of order. Given the Bill sought to make Te Reo Māori an official language, a mihi to open would be considered appropriate; but it was 1987 – the year of the Edgecumbe earthquake, the same year Aotearoa is pronounced a nuclear weapon-free zone, and the year the All Blacks won the inaugural Rugby World Cup. Te Reo Māori then was not part of the ‘kiwi vernacular’ as we know it today. Since 1987 there have been many great strides in Māori language revitalisation and the Bill recognises that there is still much more work to do.
Very recently, Te Atiawa opened their new papakāinga at Evans Bay/Greta Point, Wellington. It was my privilege to be invited to open the complex comprising of 14 new homes. Te Aro Pā papakāinga demonstrates the ability Māori have in creating their own solutions to housing needs. I am pleased the Māori Housing Network is supporting whānau by letting them know what funding is available to them, while also offering expert advice, information and support to help improve their housing situation.
There are more projects like this around the motu. I look forward to sharing these stories with you in future editions of Kōkiritia.