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Maori economy integral to Maori development

Maori economy integral to Maori development

Associate Maori Affairs Minister Tariana Turia says an official report on the Maori economy underlines the tight linkages between economic, social and cultural development.

The report ‘Maori Economic Development – Te Ohanga Whanaketanga Maori’ was produced for Te Puni Kokiri by the NZ Institute for Economic Research, and released today.

“This report explains in economic terms a whole lot of things that tangata whenua know in our hearts,” said Tariana Turia. “It also reinforces the arguments for sustainable development, which the government supports.”

“I believe the Maori economy provides a vehicle for the attainment of collective goals, which go far beyond the economic well-being of individuals,” Mrs Turia said.

“It is true that life is more than consumption of goods and services, and there are times when tangata whenua would give up aspects of economic growth in order to protect aspects of our culture, or to maintain social cohesion.

“Of course, the development of the Maori economy allows tangata whenua to make those choices. It enables us to take control of our society and culture, and our future as peoples.

“One of the drivers of the emergent Maori economy is a booming Maori services sector, centred on cultural industries and creative arts, social service delivery, and tourism. These industries depend on, and in turn promote, a vibrant Maori culture and community organisation. As Maori society, culture and economy support each other more and more strongly, we can see tangata whenua becoming less and less dependent on government funding to achieve their goals.

“The report also helps to explain why development cannot be imposed. Tangata whenua don’t want development that costs us our identity. That’s why we’ve pushed for education and health systems that conform with our tikanga. The report confirms the sense of this approach.

“Tangata whenua have always viewed development holistically, looking at economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts. This is the essence of sustainable development.

“There are challenges for tangata whenua in this report as well. It says that integrated development depends on strong institutions. It challenges tangata whenua to examine our organisations, our leadership and accountability, and our attitudes and behaviour.

“The message is that if tangata whenua can get our own house in order, we can accelerate our progress towards self-determination,” said Tariana Turia.

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