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Mā te whenua e whanake ai te whānau
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Language: English | Māori

Getting started on your whenua

Considering the potential of the whenua

Things to think about and do if you have aspirations for your whenua.

Talk to whānau and other owners

If you can, start conversations with other owners about their aspirations for the land. You could set up a group chat on social media, or try to get everyone together for a hui. 

Some people might have definite ideas about what they want from the whenua. If not, you could talk to them about:

  • what they remember about the whenua from when they were little — what it was used for, or things they remember being there
  • what their mum or dad wanted to see on the whenua
  • any opportunities they've thought about for the whenua or whānau.

Understand the current state

To work out what you could do with the whenua, you need to look at its current state.

  • How is the land currently used? Is there a lease on it?
  • How was it used in the past?
  • Is the current use working well or is there room for improvement?

Depending on your ideas for the whenua, you can get detailed reports on things like soil quality and potential uses from our Tōku Whenua reports.

Find out about the current state and potential of your whenua

Define owners' aspirations

Potential for whenua looks different for every block, and depends on owners' aspirations and the location and state of your whenua. Owners might express their dreams and aspirations for the whenua from different perspectives, including:

  • economic aspirations — is there a way to make money from the whenua and if so, what might this be used for?
  • cultural aspirations — what could be done in your collective role as kaitiaki for the land? How could you strengthen connection with the whenua?
  • environmental aspirations — is there potential to improve environmental aspects of the whenua? For example, is there work you could do that could return it to its former state, or that could protect it from erosion?
  • social aspirations — is there potential to strengthen social connections within the whānau, hapū and iwi?

Work out the aspirations for the whenua

Research governance options

Good governance helps you to achieve your aspirations for the whenua. You might need a formal governance structure, like a trust or incorporation, or something less formal, like an agreement with other owners about who might be responsible for different actions.

What is governance?

Types of governance structures

Get advice from experts

Kaimahi at Māori Land Court can help with information about your options with formal governance structures like whenua Māori trusts or Māori incorporations.

Te Puni Kōkiri also have regional advisers who can visit your whenua and help you work out what the best option might be.

Contact the Māori Land Court

Find your local Te Puni Kōkiri office

You could also get advice from other experts, like:

  • land advisors
  • financial advisors
  • lawyers
  • other trusts.