Farming Whenua Māori in Tai Tokerau: Pathways to Success.

Mihi Harris Kellogg Report

Executive Summary

Legacy responses to improving unproductive land-based assets have failed Māori resulting in only a few high-performing Māori owned land blocks in Tai Tokerau. As such, when engaging in the primary sector, many Māori landowners – Incorporations and Trusts – are often starting from a zero-base or worse.

This is particularly the case in the rural community of Waima, Hokianga. Well known constraints to development of whenua Māori include legislative obligations and regulations, under-investment, limited access to finance and opportunities, lack of capability and sometimes fraught relationships.

Emerging research is beginning to identify learnings and insights of Māori landowners who have successfully overcome one or many of these constraints to grow high-performing farming operations that thrive both commercially and culturally.

This project is concerned with understanding the learnings and insights specific to Tai Tokerau and how they can inform enduring, sustainable agricultural production systems to unlock opportunities for future generations in Waima.

This report is based on a series of conversations, meetings and a literature review of select sources comprising primary and secondary sources to identify relevant and current content, themes and a brief case study of the Waima Topu B Ahuwhenua Trust.

The report concludes with findings and recommends that are fit for the Tai Tokerau context that encourages collaboration as stepping stone to collectivisation supported by a high-level business case that sets out a pathway for investment.

The purpose is to grow high-performing Māori farms in Tai Tokerau through investment in infrastructure and capability including governance and skills and training; establish and strengthen the relationship between Māori farmers, Crown-owned farms and investors that, in time, allows multiple farms to come together to work collectively to add value to, and de-risk, the value chain from farm gate to whare.

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