In 1998, a Maori tribe’s claim for land, resources and compensation, in New Zealand’s south island, was finally recognised. It was a dispute that began in 1849 and lasted for seven generations but now the Ngai Tahu are richer than they’ve ever been.
From an initial 170 million dollars they’ve built their settlement money into a fund with over a billion dollars in capital and assets. They’ve distributed some three hundred million dollars along the way to projects, programs and individuals. It’s an impressive achievement.
But as noted Ngai Tahu tribal elder - Sir Tipene O’Regan asks "what’s it all for?"
Wealth has been certainly been generated but what impact has it had on the tribe’s culture, heritage and values? Has the accumulation of wealth become an end in itself or is the goal economic security and the power of choice?
Highlights of The economics of Indigenous survival the 14th annual Vincent Lingiari lecture, Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory