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Economic development a key aspiration for Māori in Waikato

Hon Nanaia Mahuta

Minister for Māori Development & Local Government

MP for Hauraki-Waikato

23 February 2018 MEDIA STATEMENT

Economic development a key aspiration for Māori in the Waikato

“There is a new vision for growth and opportunity in the Waikato and I welcome the release of significant economic action goals,” says Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

The Waikato Region Māori Economic Development Action Plan and Agenda was released by the minister amongst a range of stakeholders at Hopuhopu, Ngāruawāhia today.

“This is an ambitious plan to further lift Māori achievement in our rohe, with iwi taking a strong leadership role and co-operating closely with central and local government, business and other organisations.

“This plan and agenda emphasise an approach that is well understood in the Waikato – mahi tahi or working together to better achieve aspirations for whanau, hapū and iwi to have healthier, more successful lives. The plan and agenda set some strong targets that will require a sustained and joined up programme of work. Underpinning that approach is partnership and collaboration.”

The minister said the plan and agenda laid the basis for Waikato and local Māori businesses to set the blueprint for local development. “There are so many advantages to the community, to create jobs, to engage young people, to develop ideas and new products and services.”

The plan and agenda’s development has had input from a range of iwi and Māori organisations from around the Waikato.

“There is a strong emphasis on improving educational outcomes. Both the Māori economy and whānau will benefit from higher education levels and increased capability,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

“There’s also a focus on other practical actions, such as improving understanding of the way Māori land can be used and developed.”

Actions have already been adopted by the regional Waikato Means Business economic development strategy, which is being led by the wider business community.

“It’s this sort of joined up approach that will help to achieve advantage and sustainable gains for whānau and Māori enterprise.”

The action plan will focus on the next few years while the economic agenda looks out a decade.

Some of the shorter-terms actions include having all rangatahi leaving school with NCEA level 3 and driving developments in tourism and information technology.

Longer term work will include developing Waikato Māori business branding and increasing collaboration over land productivity.

The report was developed by Waikato-Tainui with help from Te Puni Kōkiri, Waikato Means Business and the Waikato Regional Council.

A Māori Business Hub, comprising a range of Māori and business entities across the Waikato region, will be set-up to house the action plan and agenda.

The Hub’s primary role will be to advance Māori economic growth throughout the Waikato region and ensure the action plan and agenda align to the Waikato Economic Development Strategy.

Physical business hubs will be created in Hamilton and Taupō to enable better collaboration across the region and connect people, goods and services.

ends

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