5 Apr 2011

Reports aim to unlock agribusiness potential of Maori land

1:40 pm on 5 April 2011

More than 1 million hectares of Maori-owned freehold land is under-utilised or under-performing, a report for the Government has found.

Two reports were released on Tuesday by the Ministry of Agriculture and Te Puni Kokiri which look into the economic, cultural and social aspirations Maori communities have for their land, and aim to help unlock the agribusiness potential of Maori-owned land.

The Ministry of Agricultre report found that about 80% of Maori freehold land - or 1.2 million hectares - is under-utilised or under-performing.

The reports say there are several barriers to Maori developing this land, including complex governance and management structures, as well as business knowledge and skills.

Agriculture Minister David Carter says Maori agribusiness is a key priority for the Government and the reports will help it lift the productivity of Maori land and agribusiness.

He says Maori landowners are already significant contributors to New Zealand's primary sectors but there is room for them to develop into more profitable and sustainable businesses.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says the reports shows that Maori are successfully advancing their aspirations for the benefit of their whanau now and in the future.

He says the use of the land requires balance between commercial and cultural needs.

The reports recommend a review of the regulatory environment for Maori land ownership groups, as well as training and development programmes for those overseeing Maori entities.