Māori landowners band together for collective impact

The rohe of Harataunga lies on the eastern tip of the Coromandel Peninsula and is largely home to Ngāti Porou ki Harataunga ngā Hapū e Toru.

Published: Rāapa, 08 Hakihea, 2021 | Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Located in this tranquil seaside settlement of Kennedy Bay, lies 11,500 hectares of underutilised and undeveloped whenua, which is recovering from deforestation.

In 2019, Māori landowners from three separate blocks, began work with Te Puni Kokiri’s Whenua Māori Service, who helped them to form the Harataunga Collective. The Collective was set-up with the purpose of utilising their indigenous forest for future biodiversity and productivity work.

Harataunga Collective’s Project Co-ordinator Sally Steedman spoke to Thames-Coromandel District Council’s Our Coromandel Magazine 2021/22 last month, saying the collective has ‘big dreams’ for their whenua.

“We are determined to establish papakāinga, horticulture, agriculture, reclamation of wetlands and other industries that have a low environmental impact, which will allow our whānau to be fed, sheltered and prosperous as we care for this whenua,” Sally said.

With support through the Whenua Māori Fund, the Harataunga Collective are now undertaking land-use assessments, feasibility studies and a ten-year staged development plan to determine options for land use to create multiple income streams whilst maintaining the biodiversity of their whenua.

“Although COVID-19 has stalled much of our mahi, we’re so grateful the fund has enabled us to get the ball rolling,” said Sally.

Sally said they have now begun working with BECA as their lead technical consultants and advisors to provide oversight and develop their master plan.

The Haratuanga blocks are nestled above Kennnedy Bay, north of Coromandel Town. Photo Credit: Thames-Coromandel District Council

“Te Puni Kokiri has not just helped us with the putea to get the project underway, I also want to acknowledge the advisors who have been working with us to help realise our potential,” Sally added.

Te Puni Kokiri’s Regional Advisor Kere Hauraki (second row, far left) and former Advisors Shontelle Bishara and Ben Aves (third row, far right) have been working alongside the Harataunga Collective, connecting them with funding streams and agencies as well as helping them to move the project forward.

“We are pleased to support the Harataunga Collective to achieve their cultural, social and economic aspirations through their whenua,” said Kere.

“Ultimately, this collective is unique as they represent a large number of Māori landowners who are all working towards the same vision - to provide homes, mahi while caring for the land, and enable more whānau to return home and thrive on their whenua,” Kere added.