Maori Land Ownership
The Maoris remain considerable landowners in the East Cape, both as occupiers and as landlords. 546,000 acres of land, representing 26.6 per cent of the total, are classified as occupied by Maoris, and a further 1,285,000 acres are classified as occupied by Europeans, an undisclosed amount of this land being leased from the Maoris. As the recently published Land Tenure Map revealed, the concentration of Maori land is one of the most distinguishing features of the region. Much of the land is located in large blocks in the northern counties with a further extensive area 30 miles north-west of Gisborne. To overcome the problems associated with the multiplicity of Maori land titles — there are 6,167 individual Maori land titles in the Gisborne Land District, roughly one for every second person — it is customary to hand over the running of the farms to managers who are supervised by an annually elected committee of owners. A large number of factors, among them difficult environmental conditions, previous misuse of the land by European leaseholders owing to the absence of compensation clauses for improvement, little regard on the part of the committees of the imperatives of good entrepreneurship, all combine to produce a rather unsatisfactory level of development and attainment. In some cases, however, very good standards of farming are achieved on Maori land.