Refresh sets out roadmap for Māori economic development


Australia may have a jump start but watch this space, Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta told a Waikato audience at the refresh of the region’s Māori economic development plan.

She said she is working on a paper to put to Cabinet by the end of the year around the social procurement approach, taking on the learnings from both Canada and Australia.

Mahuta was speaking at the refresh of the Waikato Region Māori Economic Action Plan and Agenda – Te Whare Ohaoha, a stakeholder event in June in Hamilton.

The refresh outlined a series of actions to maximise economic outcomes, grow social and cultural wellbeing and encourage collaboration for the benefit of the Māori economy in Waikato.

Te Whare Ohaoha outlines several high-level outcomes that have been achieved since the original Māori economic development action plan was developed in February 2018, with the goal to position the Māori economy as a key driver of economic success and social and cultural wellbeing in the Waikato region.

One of Mahuta’s themes was social procurement, which could see agencies setting targets around social impacts, including opportunities for Māori enterprises, in the procurement process.

“There’s very few things Australia beat us in, but on the procurement front, in terms of targeted indigenous procurement, Australia has set a 3 percent target where they have seen substantial growth in enterprise amongst aboriginal communities.”

She said it hadn’t been all plain sailing in the four years since the process was put in place, but there are learnings for New Zealand, both from Australia and from Canada, which has its own system.

She said much could be achieved through a different procurement process. “So watch this space because the paper that I’ve got mandate to be able to provide to Cabinet is going up at the end of the year,” she said.

Mahuta said it was a time to be bold, and that she was excited about the innovation emerging from the Māori collectives and whānau enterprise sector.

“Te Whare Ohaoha, through its ecological approach, makes explicit the connection between
whānau and rangatahi development. It also recognises the unique role each of these groups play in building a robust and resilient future for our region.

“At the collective level, Te Whare Ohaoha is about creating and amplifying the returns on investment. For whānau it’s about harnessing enterprise opportunities in pursuit of whānau aspirations. And for rangatahi it’s about preparing for a future of success and succession in a very deliberate way.”

Te Puni Kōkiri regional manager for Waikato-Waiariki Rachel Jones says the outcomes reported this year can be attributed to enhanced collaboration and strategic partnerships among Waikato stakeholders to grow the Māori economy.

“We’ve completed research on the way Māori businesses collaborate so we can best provide appropriate networking opportunities.

“We’re grateful for the support and work of our iwi leaders, rangatahi representatives and whānau enterprises who have worked alongside the Te Hūmeka Waikato Māori Business Network on this action plan. We’ve also been able to encourage engagement across different sectors, which has been vital in developing new relationships and networks that will help propel different projects forward in the future.”

Market research will also be undertaken to assist Māori tourism ventures to support a key sector that was identified in the original action plan.

Te Waka CEO Michael Bassett-Foss says Te Waka is proud to support Te Whare Ohaoha and Māori economic development in the region.

“It’s fantastic to see our growing Māori economy reflected in a strong ecosystem where Māori business is set up to thrive and connected to the support, resources, and funding they need to grow sustainably,” he says.


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