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FOMA announces Te Ture Whenua Māori Expert Advisory Panel

FOMA announces Te Ture Whenua Māori Expert Advisory Panel


11 September 2014

The Federation of Māori Authorities (FOMA) has announced an Expert Advisory Panel, which will provide it with support relating to the review of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993.

The Panel includes industry leaders from across the Māori land based/ agribusiness sector. It will meet once a month until submissions on the new Ture Whenua Bill have been completed.

Panel members include:

• Traci Houpapa (Chair, Te Urunga B Inc)

• Hayden Wright (Chair, Pouto Topu A Trust)

• Hari Benevides (Chair, Morikaunui Inc.)

• Paul Morgan (Chair, Wakatu Incorporation)

• Alan Haronga (Chair, Mangatu Blocks and Wi Pere Trust)

• Ratahi Cross (Chair, Ngati Tukairangi Trust)

• Ingrid Collins (Chair, Whangara Farms)

• Fred Te Miha (Chair, Ngāti Tama)

FOMA Chief Executive Te Horipo Karaitiana said the panel will provide valuable advice to FOMA.

“We’re really fortunate to have some of the top Māori agribusiness minds supporting us.

“Te Ture Whenua Māori is widely regarded as the single most important piece of legislation relating to Māori ownership and aspiration.

“Any changes that the Government makes need to be well thought through and based on the knowledge of people who run the entities that will be impacted.

“We look forward to working with the Expert Panel on our submission for the new Bill,” said Mr Karaitiana.

Officials from Te Puni Kōkiri have recently completed a series of 19 hui around the country. FOMA is currently considering feedback provided by Māori land owners at those hui.

Paul Morgan, Chair of Wakatu Incorporation, one of the largest private land owners in Te Tahu Ihu (top of the South Island), said the review is a chance to get things right following missed opportunities in 1993.

“It’s clear that the Government has a policy framework of addressing productivity and performance across the entire Māori land estate, and that’s great.

“Their focus seems to be on the ‘unmanaged’ estate, which comprises about 16,000 titles and approximately 300,000 hectares.

“These are a lot of small blocks which would struggle to be economic anyway,” said Mr Morgan.

“Care is needed to not to facilitate productive activity on those blocks at the expense of the rest of the estate, which is five to six times larger and at various levels of productivity.”

Māori farmers including trusts and land corporations are widely regarded as some of the best operators in the country.

Te Horipo Karaitiana believes the main focus for Government and industry should be on land optimisation, not simply productivity.

“Most Māori land suited for production, around 950,000 hectares, is already managed by sufficient governance entities.

“In general, the land use is aligned with land class, so it is essential to get a real picture of what is needed on the ground to ensure optimisation of the land,” said Mr Karaitiana.

The Expert Advisory Panel met for the first time yesterday. Further information is available at www.federation.maori.nz

ENDS


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