SAC # 111

Finding a balance between productive and cultural use of Maori freehold land



TIME | 16 June 2011, 4pm onwards

LOCATION | CSAFE Seminar Room, , Dunedin

SPEAKER | David Goodwin


This seminar topic was motivated by frustrations experienced by both right-holders and administrators of Māori Freehold Land, and also by global pressures to make customary land more productive, improve its administration and bring more such land onto the market. The presentation draws on findings of a research study that compared Ngai Tahu Māori Freehold Land and Shona and Ndebele Communal land in Zimbabwe, with the objective of finding what land-based custom has persisted to the present day, and why. One conclusion of the research was that, in contrast with formal land titling systems (which tend to consider land rights in isolation), right-holding of Māori Freehold Land is still bound up with interpersonal ties. Clearly, this holds implications for any moves to “unlock” customary land, and this presentation considers Māori Freehold Land from the perspective of whether productivity can be increased without compromising (and perhaps even while enhancing) cultural uses of that land. 

About the Speaker

David was born in Zimbabwe, where he worked as a registered survey for many years and lectured in Surveying at the University of Zimbabwe from 1986 to 2003. In 2003, he settled in Dunedin with his wife and four daughters and, following a year of building and maintenance work, embarked on a PhD that compared persisting land tenure custom between Ngai Tahu and two African tribes. David has been a Senior Lecturer in the School of Surveying at Otago University since 2008, and his research interests include aspects of communal land tenure, land registration and cadastral reform. 


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