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New Maori Fund - Pre-Budget Announcement

New fund will help retain and promote Matauranga Maori, customary Maori knowledge about nature

Conservation and Associate Maori Affairs Minister Sandra Lee says an additional $2.35 million has been set aside over five years for Maori to develop appropriate frameworks to preserve customary knowledge about nature, Matauranga Maori. Ms Lee said the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy identified the under-use and on-going loss of customary Maori knowledge about nature as key issues that needed to be addressed in order to achieve the Strategy's goals.

"A wealth of knowledge about our indigenous biological diversity is in danger of disappearing forever with the deaths of knowledgeable kaumatua and kuia," Ms Lee said. "The new funding will enable the crown to work with appropriate Maori experts during the next five years, to develop an appropriate framework for the retention and promotion of Matauranga Maori, with the knowledge remaining as the property of the particular iwi or hapu."

Ms Lee said the clear message that many Maori made in submissions on the draft Biodiversity Strategy was that lack of funding in the past had constrained them from active involvement in conservation initiatives and preservation of Matauranga Maori. "This new fund will help to address that need," she said.
"New Zealand's indigenous biodiversity is facing new threats all the time, so Maori also need funding support to acquire new skills to allow them to continue playing an effective role in managing our native animals and plants, and their habitats," Ms Lee said. "This funding will enable greater iwi and hapu participation in active management of our biodiversity."

The Conservation Minister said the new Matauranga Maori fund would be administered by the existing committee for the Nga Whenua Rahui Fund, the fund set up to enable Maori to protect their land. She said year one funding of $40,000 would be used to put in place the required arrangements to administer the new fund, year two funding of $315,000 would include some grants, while the following three years have been allocated $665,000 each year, mainly for grants.

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