E rangahau ana koe i te aha?What would you like to search for?

Maori Land Title Improvement since 1945: Communal ownership and economic use.

Author Category Source

New Zealand Journal of History, 31(1), 132-152

Published Year Read Publication

Harris explores the evolution of Māori land title improvement from 1945, focusing on the balance between communal ownership and economic utilisation.

This study offers a comprehensive historical analysis of legislative and policy changes impacting Māori land ownership in the post-World War Two era, particularly the comprehensive programme of title improvement for Māori land conducted by governments in the 1950s and 1960s. During these decades, the New Zealand government launched a major program to improve Māori land titles, tied to development schemes initiated by Apirana Ngata in 1929. The government viewed the multiple ownership as not only hindering land development but also as an obstacle to the Māori community’s progression and adaptation to modern life. Additionally, it was believed that multiple ownership perpetuated a sentimental attachment to land. The government emphasised the importance of fully utilizing land, considering it vital for prosperity and a responsibility of all citizens. These schemes involved direct government support for Māori land development and farming, aiding communities through economic hardships and war, and modernizing living standards. Over time, the Department of Māori Affairs systematised these efforts, focusing on title reforms to overcome the challenges of multiple land ownership. These reforms were crucial for facilitating financial backing for land development, addressing banks’ hesitancy to finance multiply-owned Māori land. This comprehensive approach by the Department was as significant as the development schemes themselves. Harris provides a detailed historical analysis of the changing legal framework as well as the broader context within which these changes were made during the two decades in question, including the field work conducted by the Māori Land Court and the resulting data on consolidations, conversions, successions, and development levels across seven Māori Land Court districts: Taitokerau (Northland), Waikato-Maniapoto (Waikato, King Country, Hauraki), Waiariki (Bay of Plenty, Rotorua), Tairawhiti (East Coast), Ikaroa (lower North Island) and Te Waipounamu (South Island). The paper assesses the impacts of these changes on both economic development and the maintenance of traditional Māori values. As the author explains, the government has consistently viewed multiple ownership of Māori land as a major impediment to bringing Māori land into full production, and like previous adaptions these changes were directed at encouraging economic development. The article provides valuable insights into the complexities of land ownership among the Māori, highlighting the challenges of integrating economic use with communal ownership models.

Go back to the Annotated Bibliography List