February 28, 2018
Anxiety hampers Maori land use
A University of Auckland researcher says whanau Maori need to face up to their fears if they want to get the best from their whenua.
Kiri Dell from Ngati Porou will receive a PhD for her thesis which involved interviews with Maori land experts, trustees, shareholders, policy makers, lawyers and land development specialists.
She says previous research into under-development seemed to identify the land as the problem, calling it unproductive, fragmented, isolated, or non-arable.
But she found raruraru one of the biggest obstacles to development as conflict and tensions within whanau make it hard to make decisions.
What she calls land trauma – the emotional legacy of historical colonisation, dispossession and displacement – heightened the family conflict inevitable in any large group of relatives and there is a fear of making the wrong decisions and losing more land.
That works against innovation and entrepreneurialism.
Ms Dell developed a framework for dealing with whenua, starting with identifying and embracing the unique characteristics of a piece of land.
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