As part of the Government’s commitment to fit-for-purpose services for Māori land owners, $7 million has been set aside as contingency for the Whenua Māori Programme in Budget ’18.
Unlocking the potential from whenua for whānau is a critical part of achieving the Government’s vision of a thriving regional Aotearoa.
This funding will support the design, establishment and on-going delivery of services for owners of Māori freehold land.
Supporting whānau interests in Māori freehold land, succession, strengthening governance capability, improving access to information and research, providing more opportunities for Māori land owners to network and share knowledge, providing access to specialist skills and technical experts and connecting Māori land owners to capital opportunities – these are the challenges and opportunities associated with Māori freehold land.
The funding can be drawn down once Cabinet has had an opportunity to consider options for responding to the challenges associated with Māori freehold land and agreed on a way forward. Further investment in the Whenua Māori Programme will be subject to future Cabinet decisions.
Clearly, there is a need for a range of services to better support Māori land owners to tap into the full potential of their land. I’m working through those options alongside some targeted legislative amendments to facilitate greater engagement of Māori with their whenua.