The Māori Economy
In 2010, the Māori asset base was estimated to be worth NZ$36.9 billion. That resource is made up of collectively-owned assets and the businesses of self-employed people and individual employers. The same research predicts the Māori economy will be contributing an extra NZ$12 billion in GDP to New Zealand each year by 2060.
Māori authorities have been contributing to the New Zealand economy for centuries but have been significantly strengthened by Treaty of Waitangi settlements in recent decades. Currently, legislation has been passed for settlements valued at around NZ$950 million. Te Puni Kōkiri (Ministry of Māori Development) is the Crown’s principal adviser on Crown-Māori relationships and guides Māori public policy by advising Government on policy affecting Māori wellbeing and development. The Māori Trustee has a longstanding role in caring for Māori land and other assets on behalf of Māori and works in partnership with the owners of Māori land to build and protect these assets and assist in the overall improvement of the Māori economy. The Federation of Māori Authorities FoMA promotes the development, management and economic advancement of Māori authorities and is actively involved in advocacy, training and the promotion of the wise and sustainable use of resources.
Māori are historically strong in primary industries – for example Māori-owned companies control around 40 per cent of New Zealand’s fishing catch and have significant forestry interests. However, Māori enterprise spans the full range of industry sectors and all aspects of the economy. Industries that hold particular potential for Māori include aquculture, tourism, energy and mining.
With a growing emphasis on sustainable business practices globally, Māori businesses find themselves in a unique position to bring their long-term, community-centric view to building businesses, using resources and creating lasting partnerships with global partners. Māori businesses are operating in all of New Zealand’s broad areas of export strength and have opportunities in high-growth industries. Iwi, hapu, whanau trusts, incorporations and urban authorities have shown the way that Māori groups can break their own commercial ground. Māori businesses can use their uniqueness both in business development and governance, but also branding and adding product value. Māoridom can set itself apart with its unique local histories and stories and the building of trust, confidence and integrity through cultural exchange.
In a world of increasingly scarce resources, innovation will be critical to efficiently and sustainably use what is available. Given their assets and their range of capacity and capabilities, Māori are uniquely and increasingly well positioned to play an important role by collaborating with each other and with the science sector. The Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI), Te Pūnaha Hiringa Whakaea, understands that Māori success is New Zealand’s success and The Vision Mātauranga policy and capability fund have been developed in the support of unlocking the science and innovation potential of Māori knowledge, people and resources.