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Significant Resources to Enhance Māori Governance

JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT: Federation of Maori Authorities, Maori Trustee, University of Waikato, NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants, Institute of Directors, Russell Investments

Significant Resources to Enhance Māori Governance

Projects to identify governance models for complex Māori ownership structures and for upskilling the abilities of those governing Māori assets will be the focus of a working panel responding to recommendations 14 and 22 of the Māori Economic Development Panel’s Action Plan released today.

The Institute of Directors, the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, the University of Waikato’s Te Mata Hautū Taketake – the Māori and and Indigenous Governance Centre and internationally renowned Russell Investments will work with the Federation of Māori Authorities (Federation) and the Māori Trustee on projects designed to ensure optimum value is gained from Māori assets.

“There is a mix of ownership structures and many iwi are at different stages in their development of assets and governance abilities and those three factors are what this group will address,” Federation Chief Executive Te Horipo Karaitiana.

Jamie Tuuta, Māori Trustee says: “Good governance is essential in order for Māori asset holders to achieve their goals. We administer 2,000 trusts, companies and joint ventures on behalf of around 95,000 owners and can see how critical it is to have the right structure and governance capability.”

Dr Robert Joseph director of Te Piringa-Faculty of Law’s Māori and Indigenous Governance Centre at the University of Waikato, which will convene the new group, said the University would draw on much international research to inform the process while the University’s long, historical involvement with Māori and the legal and educational expertise it could offer would be invaluable in both identifying suitable governance structures and implementing governance programmes.

“There is no doubt that many trusts and iwi groups need help to improve the skills base among their directors and trustees. For some it may be the traditional corporate governance model may be a better option. We’ve seen that work for Tainui and Ngāi Tahu,” Dr Joseph said.

“But for other, different governance models may provide a better fit. Our experience would indicate that one size does not fit all, so we need to be certain that the model or the models we identify will be suitable.”

Ralph Chivers, Chief Executive, of the Institute of Directors, also welcomes the opportunity to work on a specific Māori targeted initiative and apply the Institutes specialist skills to the issues of Governance in Māoridom.

“The IoD is committed to governance best practice and to raising the standard of governance in all areas of New Zealand business and society. This is a great opportunity for us to work with Māori to apply best practice governance to their specific situations and circumstances.

“Māori are entrusted with a significant number of assets that have both commercial and social performance drivers and as such the need for strong, effective governance is even more important. Ensuring that an effective, best practice governance model is put in place is vital for the long-term performance and longevity of those assets.”

The Chief Executive of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, Terry McLaughlin, said a strong governance structure is a key part of overall performance improvement.

“Many of our members are working with Māori-led business in New Zealand and – like all New Zealanders – we have an interest in seeing them grow and succeed,” Mr McLaughlin said.

“Our nationwide network of members has a vital role to play in helping New Zealand businesses grow, and that includes working to improve the performance of governance structures that might work best to take any business, including Māori-led businesses, to the next stage of their development. We welcome the Māori Economic Development Panel’s report and are delighted to be part of this initiative.”

Daniel Mussett, Head of Consulting at Russell Investments – a private sector multi-national renowned for its research abilities – says the resources of 40 worldwide offices will be made available to the new initiative.

“We work around the world with many different variations and ownership structures but all our advice and modeling comes with one goal in mind – to improve financial outcomes outcomes for our clients.”


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