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Why land matters

Whatungarongaro te tangata Toitū te whenua As man passes from sight, the land remains.

The land sustains every aspect of our lives, providing fundamental life-support systems and the foundation of our economy and society.

It is the place we stand. And also the place we act. It is where we make decisions that affect not just the land, but also water, oceans, air, and atmosphere, and the life they support. This puts land at the centre of most environmental conversations in New Zealand.

Humans have always used land for survival: for food, water, raw materials, dwellings, and shelter. Land ecosystems are central to the maintenance of fundamental life-support systems for the planet: the air we breathe, temperatures we can endure, water we can drink, soils that support the plants we use, and the creatures we co-exist with.

Land is also the foundation of New Zealand’s economic activity. Even in this digital era, Aotearoa New Zealand remains an economy grounded in land-based production.

Land is important for other aspects of being human: it provides a connection to place and history – a space to play and learn, define culture, express spirituality, and anchor memory and identity.

For more information on Why land matters see Our land 2018.