April 08, 2013
Develop or conserve question for Maori owners
A far north iwi leader is warning that intensifying Māori land use could create tensions with iwi and the wider community.
Haami Piripi from Te Rarawa is welcoming an expert review of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act which proposes significant changes to the 20-year-old Māori land law.
He says alongside the Government's plans to overhaul the Resource Management Act, it could help Māori owners unlock their land after decades of under-development.
But not every block is a potential dairy farm.
“Much of Māori land is now the equivalent of conservation estate and it maybe that we don’t want to knock the bush down and turn it into some kind of Fonterra environment. I think there’s going to be a bit of tension there but that doesn’t mean to say it’s not gonna be a good idea. We have to be weary, careful and be selective with what we’re doing and who we do it with,” he says.
Haami Piripi says the expert panel led by lawyer Matanuku Mahuika of Ngāti Porou has done a great job, and there seems real commitment within the Government to change.
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