Coromandel Maori landowners unite for collective impact

Harataunga Rohe is found at the eastern tip of the Coromandel Peninsula and is largely home to Ngāti Porou ki Harataunga ngā Hapū e Toru.

Located in this peaceful seaside colony in Kennedy Bay, lies 11,500 hectares of underutilized and underdeveloped whenua, which is recovering from deforestation.

In 2019, Maori landowners from three separate blocks started working with Te Puni Kokiri’s Whenua Māori service, which helped them form the Harataunga collective. The Collective was created with the aim of using their native forest for future biodiversity and productivity work.

Harataunga Collective’s project coordinator Sally Steedman said the collective had “big dreams” for their whenua.

“We are determined to establish papakāinga, horticulture, agriculture, wetland reclamation and other industries with low environmental impact, which will allow our whānau to be nurtured, protected and prosperous while we take care of this whenua, ”Sally said.

With support from the Whenua Māori Fund, the Harataunga Collective is now undertaking land use assessments, feasibility studies and a ten-year phased development plan to determine land use options to create multiple sources of income while maintaining the biodiversity of their whenua.

“Although COVID-19 has blocked a lot of our mahi, we are very grateful that the fund has allowed us to start the movement,” said Sally.

Sally said they have now started working with BECA as senior technical consultants and advisers to provide oversight and develop their master plan.

“Te Puni Kokiri not only helped us with the putea to get the project started, I also want to thank the advisers who worked with us to help us realize our potential,” added Sally.

Te Puni Kokiri regional advisor Kere Hauraki (second row, far left) and former advisers Shontelle Bishara and Ben Aves (third row, far right) worked alongside the Harataunga collective, bringing them into the contact with funding sources and agencies and helping them move the project forward.

“We are delighted to support the Harataunga collective to realize its cultural, social and economic aspirations through its whenua,” Kere said.

“Ultimately this collective is unique as they represent a large number of Maori landowners who are all working towards the same vision – providing homes, mahi while taking care of the land, and allowing more whānau to come home. them and thrive on their whenua, ”Kere added.

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