Land use decisions have kaitiakitanga at their very heart.
Establishing native forests through new plantings or regeneration resonates well with Māori land owners as they seek to balance multi-dimensional considerations and give effect to their role as kaitieki. The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS), land use diversification strategies and responding to perceived climate change risk are complex systems to understand and operate within. Being carbon farmers or earning an income from carbon farming is not yet a key driver in Māori land use diversification decisions. Nonetheless, when considered alongside wider aspirations for native forest land cover and co-benefits (such as improved water quality, restoring rongoā and other customary resources, protecting biodiversity and strengthening climate resilience), navigating the challenges and opportunities of being in the NZ ETS should be investigated and supported.
This report is a study of Māori land owners’ decision-making processes and their cost (in time and other resources) when considering whether to enter the NZ ETS using native forests (both newly planted and natural regeneration). This aspect of emissions trading will be examined whilst considering the importance of Māori cultural values such as kaitiakitanga (including supporting livelihoods and returning benefits to land owners) and the barriers that Māori generally face when planning land use investments (such as concerns about retention of land ownership, and financial and legislative constraints).