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Maori business on the cusp of a new era-Federation

Maori business on the cusp of a new era-Federation

The optimism in Māori business that has shone through sobrightly in the ANZ Māori Business Barometer points to a new era of rapid growth and development in the burgeoningMāori economy, the Federation of Māori Authorities says.

CEO TeHoripo Karaitiana believes the results show that there was a lot more resilience in the business arms of the land-based collectives that make up the bulk of the Federation’s membership.
This helped ease them through the Global Financial Crisis and positioned them extremely well to capitalise on the commodity boom that has buoyed the economy over the past 12 months.

“This is a testimony to the outstanding stewardship shown bythe majority of the managers and governors of the trusts and incorporations that form our membership base,” he said.

“They were careful with their investments and the management of their assets in lead-up to the GFC, and as a result were not too badly affected by the downturn. In fact many of them got busy with capital improvements and onlifting productivity and as a result they are reaping the rewards of the current commodity boom.

“The majority are now well positioned to expand and diversify their interests, and as the survey shows a lot of that will be through collaboration and partnerships that will allow them to achieve economies of scale and critical mass that up until a few years ago would have been hard to envisage.

“A see a new era on the horizon and the rapid expansion of the Māori economy in the years ahead, and with it an elevation of the Māori brand and the story of Māori success.The Federation and its membership will be a big part of this.”

The Federation came together with ANZ and its Māori Inc. partners in 2013 in a collaboration that looked to address a dearth of data and intelligence on the Māori economy. The Federation has made addressing these gaping knowledge gaps a key plank of its over-arching strategy.

The first initiative was to target the in-depth business survey ANZ ran annually at Māori businesses.
All told 172 businesses participated in the survey, a quarter of which were Māori land-based trusts or incorporations (defined as “collectives”), and a further quarter comprising companies, partnerships and JVs with Māori shareholders. There were also 29 iwi or hapu entities that participated. All are either members or eligible to be members of the Federation.

The results of this survey, undertaken for the first time ever on such a scale, were released at a function in Auckland today.

The survey found that the confidence among Māori businesses is higher than non-Māori businesses, with 70% optimistic about their businesses’ prospects over the next three years. A half of all respondents were very optimistic about the next 12 months.

The accompanying report said to convert this optimism into tangible outcomes, there needed to be an emphasis on strategic thinking that could drive growth and deliver wider benefit to shareholders.
There was also a big emphasis placed on the need to find the right people to drive that growth, and a willingness to work with others to attain the scale to create further opportunities for growth and to develop people.
The survey found that Māori businesses are generally well organised and looking at a broad range of factors to drive growth. Remarkably, more than a third of respondents have aspirations to operate internationally.

Nearly half of the respondents said that access to skilled staff was a major concern, and more than half that succession was an issue.

A quarter of the companies surveyed said that partnerships and JVs would be a key driver of growth, with mergers and acquisitions also prominent in their growth strategies.

These findings align with other qualitative and quantitative data that the Federation has gathered and analysed through anumber of research exercises in the sectors its membership features prominently in.

It was actively facilitating private sector collaborations and cross-sectoral initiatives that were introducing best practice and driving productivity improvement in many Māori agri-business operations.

“We are already doing a lot of work to move the interests of our membership forward on a collective basis,” Karaitiana said. “These initiatives are starting to bear fruit and will register on the Barometer in years to come.”

The Federation has also developed a concept for a Māori Innovation Accelerator that would help position Māori business further up the value chain and beyond the farm gate, while also allowing Māori to take a foothold in the hi-tech sector.

“The expansion we foresee will also be into new sectors entirely,” Karaitiana said. “There is a lot of interest in innovation that will see a lot of diversification in the Māori economy in the years ahead.”


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