Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the four-year initiative, dubbed Maori Agribusiness Extension, is a farmer-led, farmer-focused approach to working together to tackle challenges.
It brings a new option for partnering with Maori, O’Connor said.
“We know Maori owners, trustees and managers get a lot of value from kanohi ki te kanohi (face-to-face) engagement and being able to develop their understanding, ideas and plans together.”
In Budget 2019 the Government announced a $229 million Sustainable Land Use package.
As part of that $12m was committed to ensure Maori landowners and agribusinesses have the tools, support systems and information to use their land in a way that works for them and within the context of their kaupapa, O’Connor said.
“We aim to help Māori owners achieve their economic, environmental, social and cultural aspirations for their whānau through sustainable development of their primary sector assets.”
The Whangaparaoa Maori Lands Trust is first cab off the rank.
“This is a grouping of 10 Maori land organisations that are looking to explore the potential of their land.
“Together they will investigate a range of land-use options.”
The Primary Industries Ministry is also partnering with DairyNZ to deliver an extension programme to the Maori Agribusiness Extension eastern Bay of Plenty dairy cluster of five Maori dairy farms between Torere and Whangaparaoa.
“They are quite a distance from many services, which has implications for their farming activities,” O’Connor said.
“This group is looking to make system changes to future-proof their farming operations.
“Enabling Maori landowners and agribusiness to realise their aspirations contributes directly to the development of NZ’s regional economies and NZ as a whole.”