Focus on improving productivity of Maori land

Fonterra, ZESPRI, Massey University,  DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ and  Landcare Research have joined forces with the Federation of Māori Authorities and the Māori Trustee to focus on increasing the productivity of Māori-owned farm land.

The new Māori Land Productivity Initiative, Te Kokiri mo te Whainga Hua o Nga Whenua Māori, is the private sector’s response to the Māori Economic Development Panel’s recommendation 17 to raise the productivity of Māori land . . .

The Chairman of the Māori Economic Development Panel, Ngahiwi Tomoana, said an estimated 1.5 million hectares of New Zealand land was owned collectively or individually by Māori, but a 2011 Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Te Puni Kokiri report suggested that 80% of Māori freehold farming land was either underperforming or underutilised and not even close to reaching the land’s productivity potential.

“Getting the productivity of all Māori-owned land up to the world’s best standards is perhaps the most important contribution Māori can make to improving New Zealand’s exports and driving economic growth,” Mr Tomoana said.

Te Horipo Karaitiana, Chief Executive of the Federation of Māori Authorities, said the Initiative would act quickly and efficiently to get in place specific programmes to assist Maori landowners to upgrade the productivity of their land.

“This is an issue we’ve been working on for some time, and to get so many of the key players invested will be of enormous value. The group is Maori-led, industry and university facilitated, and will involve no cost to the taxpayer, while unlocking huge returns for Maori and all of New Zealand.” . . .

Having so much land under performing is a waste or resources and opportunities, especially when a lot of it is in areas of high unemployment.

Increasing the productivity of Maori land will provide more work on farms and the businesses which service and support them and earn more export income.

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