Te Ture Whenua Māori Update: Pānui 2 July 2017
Te 2 o Hōngongoi 2017
Matariki ahunga nui, Matariki tāpuapua, Matariki hunga nui, ngā kai a Matariki nāna i ao ake ki runga.
When Pleiades, the gatherer of food and people is bright in the sky, the year begins.
The rising of the star constellation Matariki in our dawn sky heralds the start of the new year: a time for reflection and a time to prepare for the new year ahead.
Just as the appearance of Matariki signals new beginnings and the time to prepare the ground for Spring, so too are we preparing for a new era in Māori land law.
Māori Land Service Wānanga in Kohitātea and Huitanguru 2017
This week we have published the insights from the second series of national wānanga on the design of the proposed Māori Land Service held earlier this year. The findings reflect the views of Māori land owners at earlier hui.
I want to share some of the findings with you in this pānui; you can find the regional and national summary reports on the Te Puni Kõkiri website at: http://teturewhenuamori.cmail19.com/t/d-l-kdilst-qtdkiydih-r/
Around 500 land owners and trustees attended 25 wānanga around the country in January and February to discuss the Māori Land Service. One thing that struck us is how consistent the kōrero was between the first round of wānanga held in September and October last year and this second round.
In both cases, the discussion showed land owner support for:
- a kaupapa Māori organisation delivering services that can transfer knowledge and capability to owners
- a single place to go for everything to do with whenua Māori
- a whānau-friendly service that responds to different needs
- a service that can be accessed by land owners using new technology.
What we talked about
The wānanga posed two key questions. First, the proposed services - did we get it right? And,who should deliver these services?
There was kōrero about the four services that would be delivered by the Māori Land Service: an enhanced Māori land register, support for owner decision-making, a tikanga-based dispute resolution service, and advisory and development services to assist Māori land owners to use their land.
Māori land register
The themes here were keeping up-to-date records that are secure, accessible and available locally. As one attendee said, “Technology helps to eliminate the barriers of geography”.
The big themes here were reconnecting owners and whānau with whenua, better ways of engaging owners and supporting owners’ aspirations. One attendee said “Good decisions, the capability of land owners to make these can be improved by making more info available to land owners”.
Dispute resolution services
The key themes for dispute resolution services were that mediators should be impartial, have good local knowledge, integrity and honesty. They should also be skilled, mobile and strong in local reo, whakapapa and whenua knowledge. As we were told, “External, neutral mediator, trained problem solver – helps land owners to understand and make their own resolution”.
Advisory development services
Land owners wanted best practice models for whānau about improving land productivity and building governance capability, as well as training, support and tools. Other themes included helping owners work with other Māori land blocks, hapū/iwi organisations, councils, other agencies. As one land owner said, it should also “Recognise that the focus for the whenua is not just on economics”.
Who should deliver the services?
Wānanga considered two proposals about who should deliver the services. The choice wasn’t settled, and some wānanga came up with their own ideas instead. Overall what people wanted was a service governed and managed by Māori for Māori, preferably at a local level.
We are continuing the kōrero, and we will have some more news soon about the development of the Māori Land Service as we work on getting it ready to open its doors on Day One. This will be 18 months after Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill passes.
Whenua Māori Fund stories
Since the Whenua Māori Fund was launched last year, more than 126,000 Māori land owners and trustees around the country have received $6 million to explore development opportunities for their whenua. You can now view some of their stories online here: http://teturewhenuamori.cmail19.com/t/d-l-kdilst-qtdkiydih-y/
These videos entitled “Nōku te whenua” show how Māori land owners are looking at a diverse range of projects from apiculture, forestry, energy, horticulture and tourism. The videos also show how these projects are enhancing the cultural connections between Māori land owners and their whenua.
The Whenua Māori Fund was initiated in response to calls from Māori land owners for greater access to development funds during the consultation over the Ture Whenua Māori Bill
Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill
Parliament is in the Committee of the Whole House stage for Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill. Just over a week ago, it continued to debate Part 5, which deals with the governance of Māori land, and the new governance entities that land owners will be able to choose under the Bill. Importantly, owners who are happy having their current governance structure or trust, or do not have a governance entity at all, will be able to choose to continue to do so.
You can keep up to date with the Bill’s progress here.
Preparing for the new Te Ture Whenua Māori regime
I am aware that Māori land owners have a number of questions about the Bill and what it will mean for their whānau and land. Work is already underway on preparing a nationwide Education Programme on the reform. You may recall that $2 million was secured in Budget 2017 to inform Māori land owners, trustees and whānau of the changes.
It is important to remember that once the Bill is enacted, there will be an 18 month period before the new Te Ture Whenua Māori Act comes into force. Te Puni Kōkiri will ensure that you are able to access relevant and useful information through the Education Programme. In the meantime, you can find the most up-to-date information on our website and Te Ture Whenua Māori Reform facebook page.
Ngā mihi nui o te tau hou Māori ki a koe, otirā, ki tō whānau.