4 Apr 2014

New law allows outsiders to run whenua

8:27 am on 4 April 2014

The law is being changed to allow outsiders to be brought in to manage Maori land that's not being used.

Traditionally, whenua is overseen by customary owners.

About 5 percent of land in New Zealand belongs Maori - some of it's in gullies covered in gorse and going to waste.

And according to the government, 80 percent isn't making money.

To protect it, Maori land comes under Te Ture Whenua Maori Act.

But the Government doesn't think the legislation's working.

So, the Crown's driving reforms to make it more productive, encouraging farming, forestry and agriculture.

One big change will allow managers to be appointed to administer under-utilised Maori blocks until the owners can be found to get them involved in running the land.

Some landowners point out it's not all about making money off Maori land - it's also about rangatiratanga and some whenua is also urupa.

A new Maori land bill is being written up by the Government.