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New online toolkit for Māori to build governance capability

Te Tumu Paeroa’s new online training for whenua Māori owners and trustees aims to boost owner participation in the administration of their land.

The toolkit was developed after feedback from whenua Māori owners and trustees, the Māori Land Court, Te Puni Kōkiri, and with the support of partner organisation Community Governance Aotearoa

The free, online training is designed to enhance the skills and knowledge of whenua Māori owners and trustees so they can have greater involvement in whenua administration.

Te Tumu Paeroa’s Pou Arahi Tuarā Taonga | Trust & Property Director Sonya Rimene says there are a lot of systemic barriers for Māori landowners to overcome.

“Whenua Māori administration is complicated, both because of the legal framework around it, as well as legacy issues like land fragmentation and alienation,” she says.

Since the 1830s, the land remaining in Māori ownership has reduced dramatically – they now own just five percent of Aotearoa’s whenua.

The Māori Trustee, with the support of Te Tumu Paeroa, administers around 83,000 hectares of this land, on behalf of more than 100,000 owners.

Te Tumu Paeroa ensures the land is protected and enhanced now and for generations to come but what the Office is ultimately working toward is Māori governing their own whenua.  

“One of our roles is to reconnect whānau with their whenua, make sure they know the whakapapa and that they’re involved in making decisions which will future proof it for generations to come,” says Ms Rimene.

“And then another of our responsibilities is making sure whenua Māori owners have the skills and knowledge to govern on their own. We want whānau to have rangatiratanga over their whenua – but we also want to set them up to succeed.”

Since July 2022, the owners of 23 blocks of whenua Māori previously administered by the Māori Trustee have taken on governance.

“This says to me that when you give them the knowledge, and the support to do it, they’ll take on the challenge,” says Ms Rimene.

Find out more and, if you are whenua Māori owner or trustee, how to sign up on the Tū Tiaki webpage.

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