A highlight of bold plans to grow Northland's aquaculture industry is the involvement of iwi.
Historically, many a good idea has dissipated because there was zero, token or clumsy consultation with Maori.
However, iwi are strong partners in the Northland Aquaculture Development Group's (NADG) development strategy that could see the controlled farming of seafood become a $300 million industry in the next 20 years, providing income to 300 Northlanders. It's a long-term stake in the ground to help build a non "boom and bust" pillar for our regional economy.
Look around Northland and there are multiple opportunities for future partnerships with iwi.
The foundations for these partnerships need to be solidified now. When Ngapuhi enters post-settlement phase, there need to be widespread existing partnership protocols in place that will allow progress for the region, and its people.
Ngapuhi has the potential to become the region's most powerful non-commercial entity, or at least equally as powerful as the one or two unitary authorities that will evolve out of Northland's local government scene in the next few years. Only though, after it completes its own historical evolution currently taking place. There is a view in some quarters that there is no existing Ngapuhi body or entity that will negotiate and manage the dissemination and investment of settlement funds. If that's the case - perhaps it is time to begin to agree what shape the new Ngapuhi settlement and post-settlement "waka" should take, and how the paddlers should be chosen.
It's not dissimilar to the challenges surrounding local government here. The existing political and service provision structures - three district councils and one regional council - are dated and do not work efficiently. The challenge with simply pulling something apart though is not simple - power and politics has a habit of creating protectionism that can hamper progress. Regardless, there is one common thread ... he tangata - it is people. Act with integrity with the people in mind, and the solution becomes simple.