14 Jun 2013

Changes to legislation 'not key' to unlock Maori land

7:42 pm on 14 June 2013

A Fieldays seminar has heard that changes to legislation around Maori land won't be the key driver to unlock its potential.

The Ministry for Primary Industries held the Maori agribusiness forum on Friday as part of this year's National Agricultural Fieldays near Hamilton.

The seminar coincides with the final day for submissions on proposed changes to the Maori Land Act, which seeks to make it easier to develop the mass of underperforming Maori land.

Parininihi ki Waitotara (PKW) is a large Maori Land Incorporation and major Taranaki dairy farmer.

Its chair, Hinerangi Raumati, says there are three things that will unlock the potential of Maori land - people, capital and business models - not necesarily changes to legislation.

She says PKW has benefitted from the quality of people, and changes made in the mid 2000s to take on governers who have skills and confidence and youth on their side, which is different from the way a lot of Maori businesses are governed.

Ms Raumati says innovation is needed to grow capital, and mixed business models are used to get the best return.