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BCSD, Westpac Work With Northern Iwi

BCSD, Westpac Work With Northern Iwi

Business Council for Sustainable Development and Westpac work together with Northern Iwi to build sustainable business model

Westpac and the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) have launched a joint project aimed at helping Maori organisations turn Treaty Settlements into sustainable enterprise.

The project initially involves Westpac, the Council and government agencies working with Te Uri O Hau, a small tribe in Northland, which in November 2002 received $15.6 million in assets after agreeing a settlement with the Crown over a Treaty of Waitangi claim.

The tribe has an existing, detailed plan for what to do with the proceeds, based on a leadership council, social services, environmental and cultural initiatives. The joint project will work first to refine that model, so that Te Uri O Hau can best achieve its social, cultural, environmental and commercial objectives; but then further work will be done to expand the process into a blueprint for other tribes’ settlements, so that the cost and effort involved will not have to be duplicated.

Westpac Chief Executive Officer Ann Sherry said that Westpac was aware of the important place held in its customer base by hundreds of Maori businesses and entrepreneurs around the country.

“For Westpac, the project is firstly about a common-sense commitment to the social and economic sustainability of our customers and the communities where we operate,” Ann Sherry said.

“It is also about recognising the importance of the contribution made to New Zealand by the Maori economy as a whole. Maori success is a broad, economic issue not just for iwi and the Government, but private enterprise as well. So it is entirely appropriate that Westpac gets involved with something this important to the economic future of the country.”

NZBCSD Chairman Stephen Tindall said that Maori were an increasing proportion of the total population of New Zealand. “Successful Maori enterprise underpinning the sustainability of Maori communities is critical.”

“Treaty Settlements significantly increase a tribal group’s ability to deliver on its responsibilities for providing a wide range of benefits for current and future generations. These however are one-off events and while the process leading up to a Settlement is well-established, once a Settlement is reached the tribal groups involved face a range of new issues, including governance and how to manage the expectations of beneficiaries, for which there is less guidance and support,” Stephen Tindall said.

Of Te Uri O Hau, Stephen Tindall said: “Sustainable development is already at the heart of their enterprise model. The joint project with Westpac aims to deliver to Te Uri O Hau greater financial control, efficient maximisation of resources and a stronger community focus.”

The project is anticipated to take about 12 months and will ultimately see the development of an operating manual, for use by all parties to a settlement and Maori enterprises, that addresses the needs of individual tribes and the wider New Zealand economy.


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