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Peter Little Member of the NZ Order of Merit

For services to Māori land development and administration


Mr Peter Little has had a career in the development and administration of Māori land since the 1960s, beginning his career with the former Department of Māori Affairs and Island Affairs in Taumarunui.

Kingi Smiler and Peter Little


Mr Little was appointed as Director Land Development and Rural Lending for the Department from 1977 to 1989. During his management of the Land Development Operation he supported Māori farmers to diversify their land use. As Director Land Development he also serviced the meetings of the Board of Māori Affairs (later the Māori Land Board) and was seconded to Niue Island from 1968 to 1971. Following roles supporting several Ministers of Māori Affairs during the period 1990 to 2005, he became Manager of the Land Management Unit within Te Puni Kōkiri. In this role he implemented the Land Disposal Strategy, designed to wind down the Land Management portfolio through approaches that would support Māori land owners. From 2006 to 2008 he contributed to policy development in relation to the rating of Māori land, Māori land tenure, and the Māori Land Action Plan. Mr Little played a key role in the re-establishment of the Ahuwhenua Maori Farming competition in the early 2000s and the establishment of the Young Maori Farmer Award in 2012, of which he is now the panel's Lead Judge.