Whenua Māori

Whānau development through land is a key focus for Te Puni Kōkiri. It supports Māori landowners, trustees and whānau to realise their aspirations, whether they be social, cultural, environmental or economic.

Matuaokore Ahuwhenua Trustee, Frances Stokes and relation Jayden Hokianga on their whenua just north of Tūranganui ā-Kiwa/Gisborne. Photo by Josie McClutchie.

COVID-19: Support for whenua businesses

We will provide you with updates as new information comes to hand, and as we understand how we can best support your needs moving forward.

Whenua Māori – responding to COVID-19 impacts

We have commissioned three reports to support whenua-based businesses with their planning and decision making about the future. These reports examine the current and anticipated impacts of COVID-19 on the Māori economy, and the risks and opportunities ahead for Māori land-based sectors and others.

Read the reports on Tupu.nz


Information for primary industries

Information for primary industries through COVID-19 alert levels is available on the Ministry for Primary Industries’ website.

Ministry for Primary Industries’ COVID-19 information.

Support for governance teams

In May 2020, the Government passed legislation to support Māori land trusts, Māori reservations and other governance entities through COVID-19.

Read about the changes to governance obligations.

Whenua Māori Programme

The Whenua Māori Programme will support the sustainable development of whenua Māori, increase the knowledge and skills of Māori landowners, generate wealth and strengthen the connection between Māori and their whenua.

The Programme is co-led by Te Puni Kōkiri and the Ministry of Justice. It  recognises that Māori freehold landowners face a complex regulatory environment and have difficultly accessing information and resources about Māori freehold land.

The Programme addresses these challenges by:

  • enabling on-the-ground support for Māori landowners in key regions
  • amending Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993
  • providing new and enhanced Māori Land Court services
  • modernising Māori Land Court information systems; and
  • creating a Whenua Knowledge Hub and website designed in collaboration with Māori.

The Whenua Māori Programme was announced by the Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta in February 2019. You can read more about it here. https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/reform-whenua-m%C4%81ori 

In May 2019, Minister Mahuta and Justice Minister Andrew Little announced that the Government will invest $56.1 million into the Whenua Māori Programme over the next four years. Click here for more information on the Whenua Budget announcement for 2019

Proposed changes to the rating of Māori land

Parliament is currently considering significant changes to the rating of Māori freehold land. The proposals are part of the Government’s wider commitment to supporting whānau and regional development through whenua. They are a major step forward in reducing the rating barriers for owners of Māori freehold land and encouraging the greater use, occupation and development of whenua Māori.

The Local Government (Rating of Whenua Māori) Amendment Bill was introduced into Parliament in February and public submissions closed on 17 May. The Māori Affairs Committee are now considering the submissions received and the Bill. To keep up to date with the Bill’s progress, go here.

Find out more information here.

Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993

Te Ture Whenua Maori Act is the governing legislation for Māori land, upholding the protection of whenua for whānau. In August 2020 the Government passed Te Ture Whenua Māori (Succession, Dispute Resolution, and Related Matters) Amendment Act which introduces changes to Te Ture Whenua Māori Act to make it easier for Māori land owners to connect with and use their whenua. These changes will come into force in early 2021.

Find out more about changes to the Act

Whenua Knowledge

The development of a Whenua Knowledge Hub and website is one of the key initiatives of the Whenua Māori Programme. It will give Māori landowners, trustees and whānau the most up-to-date and trusted information about their whenua to support their planning, investments and aspirations.

These tools are being worked on in collaboration with Māori. Watch this video to see how the Hub is being developed.

Whenua Regional Advisory Services 

The new service will provide for dedicated staff across Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) Waiariki (Bay of Plenty) and Te Tairāwhiti (East Coast).

The role of the service is to provide specialised and customised support that empowers Māori landowners to move forward on their development journey.

Watch this video to see how Te Puni Kōkiri staff in Te Tairāwhiti supported Whangara Farms to establish their partnership in 2006.

In recognition of their success, Whangara Farms were a finalist in the Ahuwhenua Trophy Te Puni Kōkiri Excellence in Māori Farming Award 2019 (sheep and beef category).  

Click here for more information about the Ahuwhenua Trophy.

Ahuwhenua Trophy 

The Ahuwhenua Trophy celebrates excellence in Māori farming. Te Puni Kōkiri is the proud platinum sponsor of this prestigious award which was established by Sir Apirana Ngata and Governor-General Lord Bledisloe in 1933. Te Puni Kōkiri is proud of its commitment to whenua initiatives, celebrating exemplary Māori farming through the Ahuwhenua Trophy Award, and enabling and supporting Māori freehold landowners through its recently established Whenua Māori Programme. Find out more information on the Ahuwhenua Trophy here.

Whenua Māori Fund

With the support of the Whenua Māori Fund, whānau Māori are exploring and fulfilling their aspirations for Māori freehold land. Read more

Our Whenua Māori stories

Keeping Mitimiti going one tree at a time

A collective of Māori land trusts in the north have collaborated with Te Puni Kōkiri and other partners to enhance their future in forestry and maximise the returns on their Māori freehold land. Their efforts are creating jobs for locals in small Far North settlements and setting an example for other Māori landowners interested in forestry. With high rates of Māori land underperforming, this is an example of how the Whenua Māori Programme can assist Māori landowners to develop their land. Read more

A man on a mission to bring people together

This projects links up Te Tai Hauāuru Iwi and Māori land owners with local and central government schemes and it identifies joint land development opportunities among local Māori land owners. This is a small-scale example of what could happen when the Whenua Māori Programme is up-and-running. Read more

Honeys of Te Urewera only the start

With the support of Te Puni Kōkiri, the Tūhoe Tuawhenua Trust has established and developed its Manawa Honey business deep in the Ruatāhuna Valley. The successful enterprise provides rewarewa, tāwari and mānuka honey to around 150 stores around the country. While there business is thriving, the Trust is keen to expand its business and investigate other ways to use their land. The Whenua Māori Programme could potentially assist this Trust in fulfilling its aspirations. Read more

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