Developing land to see economic growth in the Northland region

By Dean Nathan

Māori landowners in Northland have raised concerns over a report that highlights the potential of developing land in the region for uses such as horticulture and agriculture. The report was presented to a Māori Economic Development meeting, He Kai Kei Aku Ringa, in Northland.

The turnout at the today's meeting is seen a major sign of the passion in the North to lead economic development.

Māori Affairs Minister Te Ururoa Flavell says, “It’s an issue of utmost importance here because others are driving it. During my time here in Northland, I have seen passionate Māori who want to control and develop their own resources and not allow others to drive it.”

“Northland has the largest Māori population 44% and it has significant assets that are owned by Māori around just over $2 billion. But that's low performing. We also have significant social issues”, says Ben Dalton from Te Manatu Ahu Matua.                         

The meeting was presented with a wide range of economic opportunities and perspectives.

“The good thing about today is celebrating ourselves and understanding both the opportunities and the challenges in front of us.  I've never known a time when there's been so much opportunity, it’s fantastic,” says Harry Burkhardt from Ngati Kuri Trust Board.

“What about health and social services, information technology.  How can we then reach to the international market to grow our economy in Taitokerau?  Those are the sort of conversations I'd like to start having / and the growth of young people in terms of governance roles, so we can start to see some collective change across Taitokerau,” says Deidre Otene from The Moko Foundation.

He Kai Kei Aku Ringa is a government initiated programme for the Crown and Māori to work in partnership on economic growth.  Northland Māori are considering a vast array of opportunities for future prosperity.

“Health and education are currently the main employers in Northland, so we need to continue developing in both these sectors”, says Huhana Lyndon from Ngati Hine / Ngati Wai

Flavell says, “It's time to work as a collective by pooling our skills and resources to achieve the goals and aspirations in the development of our economy.”

A lot of ideas to put into motion.