7 Jul 2015

Māori Trustee reaches out to disengaged landowners

7:58 am on 7 July 2015

The Māori Trustee is reaching out to disengaged Māori landowners for their feedback on the Ture Whenua Māori Bill.

Te Tumu Paeroa works with owners of Māori land to protect and build their assets.

Consultation hui on the exposure draft of the bill have now been completed, but there is still a month to go before submissions close on 7 August.

The deputy trustee at Te Tumu Paeroa said concerns were raised at some of the consultation hui that the majority had not bothered to attend and only a few Māori landowners were turning up.

Tiaki Hunia said besides the regular land meetings it was using other ways to engage people.

"We've got our 'My Whenua' product that we are starting to launch, so these are the individual websites for each Māori land trust," Mr Hunia said.

"We're looking at ways we can improve our interaction with advisory trustees.

"We're creating a governance development programme which is fundamental in terms of that underlying principle of rangatiratanga [self determination] and how can we move our people from being beneficiaries or advisory trustees to eventually responsible trustees with their land, and if so in what specific area do they need support?"

Minister encourages submissions on land reform

Meanwhile Minister of Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell, acknowledged those that did take part in the consultation hui.

"I'd like to thank those people who were able to attend the hui. This landmark legislation will have a significant impact on all Māori land owners so I encourage tāngata whenua to make a submission," he said.

Mr Flavell said information on the website of Te Puni Kōkiri had been updated to cover many of the concerns raised at the hui held around the country.

"I'm committed to getting this legislation right. It is unusual for an exposure draft of any piece of proposed law to go out to the public before being introduced in to the House.

"The changes to the current law are designed to empower Māori landowners and make it easier for them to make decisions about their land," said Mr Flavell.

Once the submissions close, the Ture Whenua Advisory Group will give its independent advice and a report to the Minister.

The bill is due to be introduced to the House by the end of this year.