Māori Land reforms in disarray

6 September 2016    MEDIA STATEMENT

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s sudden announcement of wānanga on the proposed Maori Land Service is yet another example of policy on the fly and shows his Te Ture Whenua reforms are in disarray, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.

“This announcement was made just after the Federation of Maori Authorities (FOMA) spelled out a list of bottom-line demands including problematic clauses, technical issues and gaps in his Bill, including the lack of detail on the Māori Land Service (MLS).

“The MLS is critical to the proposed reforms, yet there is no information on its form and function in the legislation.
“Te Ururoa Flavell’s sudden announcement of these wānanga reveals how dysfunctional this reform process has become.

“To hold 23 wānanga over a three week period on such a critical part of the Bill represents more ad hoc policy development which I doubt will be of value to Māori landowners.

“With respect, the Minister doesn’t know how to run a consultation process.

“Rather than continue his poor consultation, Te Ururoa Flavell must take his Bill back to the drawing board and draft something more appropriate for all Māori land owners,” Meka Whaitiri says.


  1. Atiria September 8, 2016 Reply

    Maaori MPs regardless of parties should work collectivly on matters regarding whenua Maaori. Set aside your ‘party’ loyalty & use your collective intellect & hopefully your committment to the betterment of Ngai iwi Maori over your choice to be a politcal party supporter. Its tyring watching you people pick shite apart, there is an expectation that you are ALL in this for US nga iwi Maori. Work out the fundmentals, not all things are diametrically oppossed, retention of whenua Maaori should be a fundemental point of agreement by you all. It’s time we told you that! Work it out. Cross party agreement

  2. Stewart Puha September 9, 2016 Reply

    My view is, why? do we have to have the bill in the first place we are all adults and should be able to compete on a level playing field with our tauiwi partners!
    Te Ture Whenua Maori Land Bill.
    Certainly the intention to benefit Maoris was the intention stated in the Act. It is still stated that way in today’s laws. The main purpose of the development provisions in Part XXIV of the current Maori Affairs Act 1953 is stated in section 327 as being “…to promote the occupation of Maori freehold land by Maoris and the use of such land by Maoris.
    At the end of the 19th century, the Crown had policies for the extensive acquisition of Maori land for European settlement.
    Land consolidation
    A planned re-adjustment and re-arrangement of land parcels and their ownership.
    It is usually applied to form larger and more rational land holdings.
    Land consolidation can be used to improve the rural infrastructure and to implement developmental and environmental policies.
    This act was the crowns attempt to solve Maori land problems!
    The land consolidation schemes were being promoted as a way for Maori to gain a measure of economic control. Consent to join these schemes by Maori land owners was not a pre-requisite, there was no avenue of appeal, new terms and conditions could and were imposed without consultation.
    The land consolidation act while providing a short term solution to the problems worked more in the crowns favour.
    The Poverty Bay herald 1925….Throughout the whole of Poverty Bay the crown has scattered interests through the consolidation scheme, these lands are being grouped into substantial blocks and opened up for selection by settlers, who the crown defined as the general public, coming at the expense of the Maori land owners.
    Ancestral ties were being subordinated to the crowns objective of enabling Maori land to be profitably utilised and occupied. They were actually precipitating the alienation of more Maori land both through purchase and in lieu of other costs i.e. rates and survey liens. It also enabled the crown to play a considerably more active and direct role in the re-organising of Maori land titles, enabling them to purchase discreet blocks and not scattered interests.
    In 1931 Native Minister Ta Apirana Ngata would describe the land consolidation schemes as “The most comprehensive method of approximating the goal of individual or compact family ownership”.
    Individual ownership offered the least protection against sales and from the 1890s Apirana Ngata actively promoted the aggregation of individual owners and the consolidation of their titles, reversing the Maori Land Court process, to form incorporations. But the acquisitions continued, with little or no thought to the future of the tribes, and the fact that the land was “idle” was an excuse.
    Attention to the spread of weeds, the failure of the Maori to enclose wandering stock, and the effect of unpaid rates on local authorities where Maori land predominated. Land could be brought under development, with or without owner’s consent, and upon development, the requirement for consultation is still not there and the precedent for no consultation being established, is still on occasion followed. The development methodology also aroused fears that land held for development would not return to owners until generations had elapsed. This often proved to be the case. Once ready for settlement it was the Board, not the owners that decided who might be settled, when and on what terms. The Board maintained a strict parental control of its settlers and had exclusive authority to determine the ultimate alienation. Those provisions endure, even in our times, save that some consent is now needed for development to begin. Effectively, though thousands of acres of Maori land that might otherwise have languished were developed through these State controlled schemes, to the ultimate advantage of the Maori people, and the State development schemes may account for most of the major Maori land developments in the country, the rangatiratanga or right of tribal control that the Treaty talked of, was lost, and tribal policies gave way to the preferred policies of succeeding governments.
    Th 21st Century Maori Lad grab!

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