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Hui focuses on driving regional Māori economy

A series of community hui on the development of a strong and sustainable Māori economy in the greater Wellington region will conclude in Plimmerton today ahead of next year developing an economic strategy and action plan designed to boost the economic and social well-being of Māori in the region.

The process, known as Ruruku, has so far comprised four hui (workshops) in Te Awakairangi (Hutt Valley), Whakaoriori (Masterton), Pōneke (Wellington) and Wairarapa ki te Tonga (south Wairarapa). As a consequence there is an ongoing conversation with Maori on economic challenges and opportunities. The work is being driven by Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Wellington Regional Strategy Office alongside Ara Tahi, , Greater Wellington's mana whenua partnership forum.

“This will help shape a vision for Māori development and contribute to the creation of a Māori Economic Development Strategy and action plan for Te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui,” says Greater Wellington Regional Council Chair, Daran Ponter.

“We’ve focused on engaging with Māori communities of any age, background and interest, however there is a focus on rangatahi and Māori businesses as they will make a real and lasting contribution to driving the Māori economy in the future.”

The initiative has come from Ara Tahi, with the support of a group from Victoria University of Wellington Business School.

“In our Plimmerton session, Nga Mahi a Maui, we have an exciting line-up of successful Māori business operators wanting to share their experiences and networks to build and better enable business success.”

The strategy and action plan provides a point of co-ordination for the already significant economic activity underway at local, regional, iwi and organisation levels, and will be a vehicle for enhancing or developing new ideas and collaboration.

“The way forward will be focussed on supporting greater self-determination for Māori in realising positive economic and financial outcomes, and will highlight what is needed to ensure successful implementation of the great ideas that are emerging from discussions,” says Cr Ponter.

Māori wanting to get involved in the development of the strategy and action plan should visit ruruku.org.nz to find background information on the project and an interactive forum through which to post ideas.

Information and perspectives drawn from the hui and online engagement will be considered in the development of a first draft of the strategy, which will be available in early March 2020.

“At that point we will have a draft for consultation, and we look forward to taking it to the Māori communities throughout the rohe,” says Cr Ponter.


Notes for editors: the nature and scale of the regional Māori economy

The following background information is from a report commissioned by Greater Wellington, and compiled by BERL: Making sense of the numbers – the Māori economy in the Greater Wellington Region March 2018 -

The Māori economy is an (integrated) subset within the broader New Zealand economy and cannot be seen in isolation. The data below cover the Greater Wellington Region, eight Territorial Authorities; Wellington City, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, Porirua, Kāpiti Coast, South Wairarapa, Masterton and Carterton.

This area overlaps with six iwi; Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Rangitāne o Wairarapa, Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga, Te Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai.

The data presented below follows the Living Standards Framework and the Māori economy is measured with the four capitals: Human capital; Social capital; Financial and physical capital; and Natural capital

Human capital

Young, growing Māori population
• 58,332 Māori live in the Greater Wellington region, 12 percent of the population
• Nearly 60 percent of Māori are under 30 years old
• 16 percent of Māori living in the region mana whenua to the region
• Māori share of the working age population will grow significantly in the coming years.

Māori earn $1.2 billion in salaries and wages per annum
• 11 percent of the region’s labour force are Māori
• However, Māori earn $165 per week less than the regional average
• 10 percent are self-employed, much lower than the 17 percent of non-Māori

One third of working Māori employed in social services
• Nearly 30 percent of Māori employed in low skilled jobs
• The 26 percent of Māori employed in high skilled jobs are concentrated in Wellington City
• 21 percent of Māori in the region are employed as professionals, compared to 16 percent of Māori nationwide

One quarter of the Māori workforce have no qualifications
• Half of Māori with a degree live in Wellington City
• One third of Māori in Wairarapa have no qualifications

Social capital

Positive contribution of te Reo
• 39 percent of Māori adults can speak some te Reo
• One quarter of te Reo speakers in the region are non-Māori

Strong cultural connections
• There are 33 marae in the region, supporting social and spiritual connections
• Increased utilisation of tourism, i.e Mātariki to preserve and promote culture

Education sector plays an important part in providing Māori focused educational outcomes
• 32 Kōhanga Reo facilities with 768 tamariki enrolled, employing 206 staff
• Four Te Kura KauPapa Tongarewa Māori schools, total roll of 475 students
• There is also two other Māori-only schools with an additional 474 students
• Te Wānanga o Raukawa has 3,800 students and Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi has 8,600 students enrolled

Māori collectives provide important health services to the community
• Various mana whenua and mātāwaka health providers in the region providing critical services
• Creating employment opportunities in a wide range of health and support services

Financial and physical capital
Home ownership rates constant despite declining national trend
• 28 percent of Māori in the region own their own home, down one percent from pervious census
• Half of non-Māori in the region own their own home
• Growing interest in papakāinga housing, i.e Te Aro Pā , Wellington’s first city papakāinga

Māori business thriving
• Strong presence of Māori in business in film, technology and business services
• Māori owned entities play a key role in commercial property, housing and social developments

Treaty settlement assets concentrated in property and fishing quotas
• Three of six mana whenua partners in the region have settled (one is about to settle)
• Collectively the assets of the settled iwi are about $300 million.

Natural capital
Resource Management Act, recognising Māori guardianship of the environment
• Co-management arrangements, i.e. Parangarahu lakes, Matiu Somes, Mākara and mokopuna islands
• Fishing settlement quota is an asset, and Māori are an important player in the fisheries industry

Only 12,529 hectares of Māori Freehold land
• 270 Māori freehold land properties have formal governance structures covering 6,350 hectares
• 256 properties have no formal governance structure covering 6,178 hectares


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