Problems of Development
It appears now, however, that although young Maoris are offering themselves for selection for State assistance, the current standard required is beyond the majority of them. On the other hand some of the best qualified applicants are not land owners' nominees and, being “landless”, just cannot be settled. To date no way has been found around the impasse. In the first place there is too little land to offer those who have nothing other than the requisite skill for farming and, secondly, there are too few skilled applicants coming forward from those who have the land.
While the emphasis thus far has been laid on the positive results of the current era of Maori land settlement, the reckoning must also include at least one negative aspect. The reasons are at present obscure, but sizable tracts of land formerly well farmed under development have now reverted to second growth and have gone out of production.
Meanwhile, the incorporation of blocks with congested titles has continued independently of the State-sponsored land-settlement schemes. According to the 1960 Report on Maori Affairs, less than half out of a total of approximately 300 incorporations are “active” today. The contributing causes in many cases are commonly said to be due to inefficient administration – especially accounting – as well as the struggles of competing factions.
Despite the undoubted success of the State programmes of assistance there are still considerable numbers of Maoris who work their land indifferently. And it is from these families that increasing numbers are seeking external employment for wages, mainly to satisfy their consumer demands. Much thought must needs be directed to the problems posed by such land owners and others who remain seemingly indifferent to the use they make of their heritage.