On the sideline of the discussion of the sustainable development goals, Ambassador McLay hosted this event to illustrate practical Maori solutions to development that join economic, environmental and social sustainability.
Mr. Astaria briefed attendants on traditional Maori conception of land resources, which does not entail possession of land but common stewardship. When the concept of individual land ownership was introduced in the early days of colonization, it came affront with the Maori conception of shared use of land and led to fragmentation of Maori land into financially unsustainable plots. However, with the Maori protests in the 1970s and reforms to the Maori Land Court, the shared nature of Maori land was reinstated in form of trusteeship. Ms. Wereta spoke on the conflicts and convergence of Western and Maori ideas of leadership. For instance, while the traditional Maori value of respecting the elders contributes to bringing cohesion to the organization, it may lead to nepotism. However, since many in the organization share ties of kinship and the land they live on, it contributes to the idea of “we come from the land and we return to the land”. Ms. Griffiths also added that the kinship leads to the trust in focusing on investment of its people through education to ensure sustainability of human resources.
Mr. Murray detailed how these Maori values have been embedded in the practice of the businesses of the Tuaropaki Trust. Environmentally, the farming operations and food production of the trust manage their waste effectively by using a worm farm to turn the waste into fertilizer and uses geothermal power. Socially, its telecommunication business provides Internet access to the town of Taupo, which lacked infrastructure development. Economically, the trust owns a portfolio of 70 million dollar worth of businesses up from four million dollars in 1979.
Meeting Title: Event on “Tuaropaki Trust: A New Zealand Māori approach to sustainability”
Speakers: His Excellency Mr. Jim McLay, Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations; James Ataria, Deputy Chairman of the Tuaropaki Trust; Representative of Tumanako Wereta, Chairman of the Tuaropaki Trust; Nachelle Griffiths, Trustee of the Tuaropaki Trust; Steve Murray, CEO of the Turapaki Trust
Location: Conference Room 9, United Nations Headquarters
Date: 17th July 2014
Written by WIT Representative: Harrison Chung