Clarke-Nathan, Natasha

Improving Maori Capability to Make Decisions for the Development of Maori Land


This report outlines research conducted to identify how Maori decision making capability can be improved to increase the development of Maori land and to recommend ways to support that capability.

The research identifies how historical Maori decision making frameworks enabled Maori to develop their land collectively as a tribal people. It describes the key differences of historical frameworks compared to the current legislative Maori Land Trust frameworks provided for in the Te Ture Whenua Maori Land Act 1993, and the constraints to progressing Maori land development.

A key point of the research highlights, that historically Maori worked collectively as inter- dependents and demonstrates how modern legislative frameworks today, that promote individualism or independence, have disbanded the traditional Maori ability to work collectively. Individualism is established with the appointment of trustees who to some degree act independently on behalf of their land owners. The research identifies this as a key deferent to the development of land. The handing over of authority and decision making from the owners to trustees presents a risk or threat to the owners. This has contributed in the loss of ability to develop Maori land.

The results of the data analysed, tests of additional processes and the introduction of critical thinking techniques such as Six Thinking Hats, present opportunities to reinstate the collectivised approach to developing land as Maori practiced historically – pre European contact.

The report finds that the application of additional processes such as facilitation techniques and Six Thinking Hats can improve land owner participation and with the application of thinking techniques, can mobilise the development of Maori land and encourage new styles of thinking for Maori.

The recommendations of the report are for further testing and refinement of the process and for the process to be tested in other sectors (outside Primary Industries).