Submissions and amendments sought for Māori Land laws

updated By Numia Ponika-Rangi

A proposed new law has Te Puni Kokiri seeking submissions on amendments to the "Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993".

There are concerns about the laws regarding the handling of Māori land was raised in 2012.  Following the 2014 elections, the issue was handed over to the new Minister for Māori Development.

Minister Te Ururoa Flavell says, "It was suggested that a group of land owners who deal with property be involved in drafting the new legislation.  The meeting here at this marae today is part of the consultation process, which will take about three to four weeks."

While Willie Te Aho of Te Kāhui Rangatira, Ture Whenua Māori says, "I'm saying no, it should be deferred so discussions can be held within homes, on marae, until it is clear to all before it reaches the Crown."

After nearly three years of discussions and drafting and re-draftng, two key issues were outlined for consideration.

"Firstly to allow Māori the ability to do what they wish with their land as a family, as hapū, as a collective but also to prevent the laws becoming so relaxed that the land could easily fall into the wrong hands," Flavell says.

The Ture Whenua Māori Iwi Leaders Group have a key issue of their own they wish to aspire to, through a proverb uttered by the late Dr Apirana Mahuika.

"He said, "The land is mine, I shall speak for it. The land is mine, I am the owner."  I would like this legislation to achieve that level but I fear it is has a long way to go yet," says Te Aho.

The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group and Ture Whenua Māori Iwi Leaders Group will hold Regional Hui in August so everyone can have a say on the draft legislation for the Ture Whenua Māori Land Act 1993.