A New Zealand academic says the economic potential of land in the Pacific is often dismissed.
Massey University Professor Regina Scheyvens and a team of researchers have received funding from the Royal Society's Marsden Fund to investigate the relationship between customary land practices and financial gain.
Ms Scheyvens said land in the Pacific is often talked about as a barrier to economic development.
"There are a lot of people who believe that unless land is freehold it can't be used for economic development, it's not going to be productive, it's not going to be considered as good at attracting foreign investment into the Pacific."
Ms Scheyvens said the research will disrupt that view and showcase the positives of economic development on customary land.