17 Jun 2013

Maori Land Act review very healthy - accountant

7:30 pm on 17 June 2013

A Maori land owner and chartered accountant is praising the Ture Whenua Maori Land Act review panel for opening up healthy discussions with shareholders about Maori-owned land.

The government-appointed independent review panel has been meeting iwi across the country to develop new legislation and get feedback from tribes about the Act, which has been in force for 20 years.

Kylee Potae, a partner at accountancy firm BDO who works with Maori land trusts and incorporations in Gisborne, says the hui have been very useful, enabling iwi to talk about changes to the way they want Maori land to be administered, and the aspirations they have to develop their land.

She says there might be just "one nugget of gold" that comes out of the discussions, but for Maori it has been a very healthy forum to discuss some of challenges they have faced over the years.

Ms Potae says the review panel has a big task, taking into consideration all the different views. She says Maori aren't homogeneous and each tribal area will have their own area of focus.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson, who appointed the independant review panel, says Maori land has been held back by flawed legislation and complex regulation.

He says he wants to ensure that Te Ture Whenua Maori Act unlocks the economic potential of Maori land while still preserving its cultural significance for future generations.