Improving Maori capability to make decisions for the development of Maori land.

Executive Summary

This report outlines research conducted to identify how Maori decision making capability can be improved to increase the development of Maori land and to recommend ways to support that capability.

The research identifies how historical Maori decision making frameworks enabled Maori to develop their land collectively as a tribal people. It describes the key differences of historical frameworks to the current legislative Maori Land Trust frameworks provided in the Te Ture Whenua Maori Land Act 1997 and the constraints to progressing Maori land development.

The research highlights that historically Maori worked collectively as inter-dependents and how legislative frameworks that today promote individualism, have disbanded this collective ability. Individualism is established with the appointment of trustees who to some degree act independently on behalf of their land owners. The research identifies this as a key deferent to the development of land. The handing over of authority and decision making from the owners to trustees presents a risk or threat to the owners. This has contributed in the loss of Maori land development.

The results of the data analysed and tests of additional processes and thinking techniques present opportunities to reinstate the collectivised approach to developing land as Maori practiced historically – pre European contact.

The report finds that the application of additional processes can improve land owner participation and the application of thinking techniques can mobilize the development of Maori land and encourage new styles of thinking for Maori.

The recommendations of the report are for further testing and refinement of the process and for the process to be tested in other sectors (outside Primary Industries).

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