Challenges and opportunities with native forestry on Māori land


We explore the decision-making processes of Māori landowners in Te Tairāwhiti to understand the extent to which funding programmes and afforestation incentives from the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme enable them to progress native forest aspirations for their whenua.
We conducted semi-structured interviews with a sample of Māori land-use decision-makers who act as trustees or chairpersons for their respective land blocks
Decision-makers share a kaitiaki relationship with the land they administer. All land blocks aspired to native forestry in some respect, but a decision to establish native forestry was often difficult to reach. Few successfully applied or were eligible for central and local government funding programmes and schemes. Key challenges hinder progressed at every stage of the land-use decision-making process, in particular: restrictive governance, limited access to resources, expertise and finance, untimeliness and ineffective communication. The perception by our sample of Māori landowners that native forestry for carbon income is an untested and risky endeavour contributed considerably to the low uptake of native afforestation and the registration of eligible native forests in the NZ ETS.
Additional support, access to expertise, effective communication and more finely tuned policy could increase the uptake of afforestation opportunities and better enable Māori land decision-makers to realise their aspirations for their land in the future




Pohatu P, O’Brien S, Mercer L. 2020. “Challenges and opportunities with native forestry on Māori land” Motu Working Paper 20-13. Motu Economic and Public Policy Research. Wellington, New Zealand.


Ministry for Primary Industries