Engaged owners make major improvements to their whenua

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“Do we take our distributions this year – or do we build them up and put it back towards improving the whenua?” – this is a situation that kaitiaki of Māori land are faced with at almost every meeting of owners. The answer to this is always dependent on the current state and use of the land, as well as happenings in legislation and government compliance.

One of the large topics in agribusiness at the moment is the protection and sustainability of waterways throughout Aotearoa. Over the last six months, the owners and trustees of Rakautatahi 1C2D have thought ahead and taken a front footed approach to improving their 32 hectare block in Hawkes Bay. Owner Frank Kotua, tenant Paul Janssen and fencer Kelvin Hullah have been working alongside Te Tumu Paeroa Trust Consultant Jacob Myhre and Land Advisor Aaron Hunt, to fence off the streams and ponds located across the whenua.

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To achieve this – it’s meant a sacrifice from the owners themselves. For the last two years, the trust has held off distributions to owners in order to build up the pūtea needed to spend it on capital works for the whenua – in particular, that the money be spent on fencing of water ways and planting.  

As pūtea built up from the monthly rental income, fencer Kelvin Hullah’s skill set was utilised in a major fashion (see below). For the planting, 200 trees were purchased and three generations of the Kotua whānau, worked alongside Kelvin the fencer, Land Advisor Aaron Hunt and his father to plant off the pond. The owners of Rakautatahi 1C2D have pledged to continue to save their pūtea in order to finish the fencing and planting for the last stream on farm which will be carried out in the new year.

This forward thinking and selfless act will benefit the descendants and beneficiaries of Rakautatahi 1C2D for generations to come.

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