|dc.description.abstract||This report is constructed in partial fulfilment of the MSc in Resource Management at Lincoln University. In November 1999, the Soil & Health Association started promoting the idea of all
agriculture in Aotearoa/New Zealand transforming itself from conventional farming to
organic farming. This idea of Aotearoa/New Zealand becoming an Organic Nation
has inspired this project to carry out research into finding out what issues Maori have
in converting from conventional to organic agriculture. As such, the main objective of
this research project has been in undertaking a qualitative research process with
twelve Maori participants involved in organic fatming to find out what Maori issues
are in organic farming.
The first step was for a literature review to be undertaken to find general issues people
have in organic farming. The second step was to conduct qualitative interviews with
twelve Maori involved in organic farming using Kaupapa Maori research methods.
This research found that there are a lot of issues in common between those identified
in the literature review and those mentioned by the Maori research participants.
These issues in common were in the areas of education, philosophic vs. pragmatic
issues, conversion issues, certification standards, lack of government and
organisational support, bias against doing things differently, national minimum
standards, research and development issues.
Through interdisciplinary analysis of the literature review and interviews with the
Maori participants it was possible to identify Maori issues in organic farming that are
specific to Maori. The main one was on the need for a national Maori organic farming
network. Other specific issues were in the areas of education that focuses on Maori
needs in organic farming. Collective ownership issues were found in the form of a
lack of finance from banks to start organic farming on collectively owned land, a trap
of just leasing land out, small blocks of collectively owned land needing coordination
for certification and market supply purposes, problems in gaining consensus on issues
in managing collectively owned land, individuals taking land on to farm organically,
failing, and leaving debts behind and fear of failing and losing mana and a need for a
profit share system to avoid risk of losing all the profit to the collective. Certification
issues were found in the areas of certification being too complicated, shorter transition
phases being needed, and the need to establish Maori certification and label systems.
In terms of research and development the issues raised were in the areas of needing to
value Maori science as being equal to that of western science, creating organic
farming districts or regions through the Resource Management Act 1991, the need to
recover traditional Maori knowledge of organic farming and the need to rebuild rural
economies through organics for sustainable jobs for Maori, for example, through
Green Dollar schemes.
The central recommendation to deal with all the identified issues is that there needs to
be formed a national Maori organic farming network or organisation where Maori
involved in organic farming can get together and exercise rangatiratanga (self
determination) to help solve their own problems. Trying to solve all Maori issues in
organic farming by a national Maori network or organisation cannot be done alone
and would need to involve working in partnership with private organisations, like Soil
& Health, and local and central government agencies to address Maori issues in
organic farming. Partnerships based on the Treaty of Waitangi would be the best