Canada and New Zealand are recognised as leaders in implementing
restitution programmes. Both countries saw fundamental changes in
government policy shaped by the 1973 Calder decision and the Treaty of
Waitangi Act, 1975. These changes in policy-making commenced from views that
contested indigenous land claims and resources towards a two-way communication
in which negotiations between communities became the key to success. The
evolving agreements moved governments towards the stance that the settlement
of claims are not so much a cost as it is a vehicle for addressing indigenous socioeconomic
circumstances. Negotiated agreements set out to reflect the emergence
of an economic development policy objective that emphasised traditional rights.
The article highlights issues and trends that shape options for public
administration in the development of governance structures that must be taken
into consideration during the planning and design of restitution programmes in
rural, peri-urban and urban areas. Creating sustainable post-settlement support
for restitution is a major task as outcomes in the local sphere are interwoven
with rights to land and resources that co-exist with the traditional and broader
communal management systems. Public administrators are thus faced with
major challenges in matching the needs of local government with that of rural
development. At the core of restitution lie communication, entrepreneurship and
business development, each a critical element in finding sustainable pathways to
meet the needs of communities and improve the quality of their lives.
For this reason the article explores development objectives and the processes
involved in attaining social advancement.