Te Ture Whenua Māori bill revamp to improve governance

By Wena Harawira

One aspect of the bill revamping Te Ture Whenua Māori is to improve governance of the groups administering Māori land. But six Māori organisations will be exempt from those conditions and will retain their existing governance arrangements.

Māori Land reforms will put measures in place to improve the utilisation of land by Māori owners.

Under the reforms, if a parcel of Māori land is not governed by an existing entity, owners can set one up or form an agreement on how the entity can operate.

But six Māori organisations will be exempt from the conditions relating to the entities that govern Māori land.

This includes Te Puna Tōpu o Hokianga, a Māori Forestry Trust in Northland; the Ruapuha-Uekaha Hapū Trust that manages the Waitomo Caves;

Te Ngae Farm Trust which owns land that was returned to the people of Rangiteaorere in Rotorua; the Tuaropaki Trust in the central North Island that owns geothermal power stations in Mōkai;

The reserve lands of Rātana Pā; and the Muttonbird Islands near Stewart Island.

Some of the six organisations are exempt from the governance provisions because they have their own governance arrangements under other legislation, such as treaty settlements.

Some lands also have unique status such as the reserve lands of Rātana Pā. So these groups will keep their existing governance arrangements.

But all other aspects of the bill will still apply to them.  The Ture Whenua Māori Bill will be enacted this year.