Economic and Spatial Modelling for informed Māori Land Development

Project commenced:

The challenge for Māori carrying out development is to determine how to balance the drivers of a neo-liberal economic approach with the very ideals and principles that define us as Māori to ensure quality social and environmental outcomes for future generations. Through a previous NPM research project "Whakatipu rawa mā ngā uri whakatipu" the team has developed a prototype decision-making framework for collective assets, which takes into account well-being indices, tikanga Māori and financial measures. In it's final stages this previous project had envisaged promoting the uptake of the framework by working directly with Māori trusts and incorporations and this new project, "Whakairotia te Whenua, Whakairotia te Tangata – Economic and Spatial Modelling for informed Māori Land Development", provides the opportunity to fast track and extend the uptake of the framework and help unlock the economic potential of Māori land. Most decision tools for investment (e.g. Return on Equity, Social Return on Investment and Cost-Benefit Analysis) use principles from disciplines such as accounting and economics, but these neglect core Māori values. Some recently developed decision tools (e.g. MBIE Iwi Futures) have integrated Māori perspectives into a Eurocentric framework like the four well-beings i.e. social, cultural, environmental and economic and some (such as Iwi Futures and Whenua VIZ[) are also using spatial layers to depict areas of importance to Māori like historical sites and land parcels. However, these approaches are still missing a kaupapa Māori-based decision tool for collective assets that is driven by core Māori values like kaitiakitanga (sustainable resource management), manaakitanga (generosity) or whakatipu rawa (growing the asset base). This project fills the gap by going beyond a business as usual approach to modelling Māori values. Core Māori values like manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga underpin all decisions and are the key starting point for decision making rather than an appendage to a financial decision. Key to the projects approach is the promotion of core Māori values as the foundation for any collective asset planning. The expected results are asset management decisions and subsequent actions, like riparian planting, community gardens, and stocking rates, that will reflect those core values. The research will implement a new economic decision-making framework for collective assets across diverse scales (Farm-Regional level) utilising core Māori values (Ngā Pou Herenga) together with economic modelling and land-use capability assessment to aid decision makers of Māori land trusts and incorporations. The research questions for this project are: - How to apply a decision-making framework that actively utilises Māori values, ecological and economic information in an integrated manner for collective assets from a regional scale to a farm scale? - How can economic and ecological modelling be used for Māori land use decisions at diverse scales? - How to balance economic and cultural aspirations for the beneficiaries of collectively owned assets?