4 Apr 2013

Rule changes could make it easier to build papa kainga

1:46 pm on 4 April 2013

Changes to rules over Maori land could make it easier for some tangata whenua to build extended family homesteads or papa kainga.

About or 27,000 blocks - or 1.4 million hectares - of land comes under Te Ture Whenua Maori Act and up to 80% of that is under-performing or not developed.

A review panel looking at improving the Act has made five recommendations and wants the public to make submissions.

The suggestions include that a majority of landowners could decide how Maori land should be used.

Associate Minister of Maori Affairs Chris Finlayson says he wants it to be easier for Maori land to be developed by tangata whenua.

He says not every piece of land is able to be used for orchards or farming, and there could be the potential for some land to be used for papa kainga type housing, because that's also in the interest of whanau.

Maori Trustee Jamie Tuuta, whose role is to help administer Maori land held in trust, says deciding how to put Maori land to its best use can be complicated because it often has several owners.

He says a balance needs to be struck between economic development and the conservation or cultural values.

A series of regional hui on the issue will be held during April and May.