A new land analysis model for Māori land has been launched.
Te Tumu Paeroa, an organisation that manages more then 100,000 hectares of Māori land on behalf of nearly 100,000 owners, has launched Taikura Naku.
The organisation said in a statement that the new model would give Māori landowners, trustees, and investors' "confidence in their decision-making to secure enduring social, cultural, environmental and economic outcomes for their whenua".
The model showed how Māori land could operate at highest and best use "by combining Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research datasets, geospatial data, industry benchmarks, and Te Tumu Paeroa land portfolio information".
Jamie Tuuta, Māori Trustee and chief executive of Te Tumu Paeroa, said: "With estimates that 80 per cent of Māori land is underperforming or undeveloped, we identified a need for a model to support decision-making, attract investment, and communicate the value of Māori land."
"Before Taikura Nuku, Land Class and labels like 'marginal land' have been used to diminish the mana of our whenua. We've created a robust, data-driven model that captures and communicates the potential of the land, recognising our whenua as taonga tuku iho, a treasure to be handed down."
Blair Waipara, Land Development Manager at Te Tumu Paeroa said: "We created Taikura Nuku because we needed a model that takes into account the wider environment. It combines emerging technology, novel uses of existing data, and our own institutional knowledge, to find innovative new approaches to understanding the land and what it is capable of.
"But the real value is how simple Taikura Nuku makes communicating, interpreting, and evaluating the options."
Taikura Nuku had already helped to secure $30 million of investment into Māori land to turn former maize crops into high-performing kiwifruit orchards with the potential to generate significant returns to owners. A number of kiwifruit orchards had already broken-ground, Te Tumu Paeroa said.
It had also supported the development of a pilot mānuka plantation as part of the High-Performance Mānuka Plantations Programme led by the Ministry of Primary Industries, Comvita and the Mānuka Research Partnership. In September 2017, 63,000 mānuka seedlings were planted on land that had formerly been described as marginal, with limited options.
Te Tumu Paeroa was now using Taikura Nuku with existing clients so they could make more informed decisions, and was working with partners including AgResearch to develop a full suite of tools to generate value for landowners.