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Māori To Explore Low Carbon Land Use Thanks To $40,000 Grant

 ‘Discovery tours’ will be organised for joint Māori landowners in the Bay this year to showcase low carbon land use options and help ignite the Māori economy.

The tours will be organised by Toi Kai Rawa with the support of a $40,000 grant from BayTrust.

Toi Kai Rawa is the only kaupapa Māori regional economic development agency in New Zealand. One of their strategic focuses is whenua Māori and helping joint owners to research low carbon land use options across horticulture, agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and papakāinga housing.

Toi Kai Rawa’s General Manager/Kaihautū, Awhina Ngātuere, says while there are already low carbon initiatives happening in these sectors, Toi Kai Rawa acts as an intermediary to connect people and raise awareness – adding value where they can, rather than duplicating support that already exists.

“How we work across teams and across sectors is how we do our best mahi. And that continues to be our approach – connecting people to what’s already working, and then designing solutions to fill the gaps.”

The discovery tours will involve visiting businesses, farms, forests, orchards or land blocks in the region who are embracing a low carbon future, and examining the relevant government policy landscape and future direction. One example could be Te Awanui Huka Pak whose shareholder whānau now have in excess of over $400m with interests in kiwifruit, avocados, commercial property, pastoral farming, elder care and other investments around the Bay.

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What land use opportunities are highlighted will depend entirely on what each Māori collective’s ambitions are, and where they’re currently at. “Our approach is around our kaupapa Māori way of doing things – we don’t come in and force things onto people, it really depends on what’s important to them,” she says.

Awhina says there are over 240,000ha owned by Māori in the Bay of Plenty (35% of the region’s landmass), governed by up to 5000 entities. So the potential reach and impact of Toi Kai Rawa’s work is significant. “The opportunities can be small or large depending on where each Māori collective is at.”

BayTrust’s funding is “extremely beneficial” as the two organisations share similar values and have the same geographical reach. “This support for our action plan to ignite these opportunities in the whenua Māori space is greatly appreciated. It helps to support our core kaupapa which is to ignite Māori economies across our region.”

BayTrust CEO Alastair Rhodes says the Māori economy is fast-paced and dynamic. Raising awareness around what others are doing by seeing their operations first-hand is a good way to inspire Māori landowners and create momentum to pursue new business opportunities.

“We share Toi Kai Rawa’s desire for the Bay of Plenty to lead the way in terms of establishing a low carbon future. We know this grant will support the work they’re doing in the whenua Māori space, and hope mana whenua will take up this great opportunity to investigate land use opportunities that exist in our region.”

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