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Recovery In Tāmaki Makaurau

Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa – As Aotearoa transitions to the Covid-19 Protection Framework, The Southern Initiative nestled within Auckland Council, is urging the government to make significant investment into the Māori economy in Tāmaki Makaurau.

The call for support comes with the release of Te Ōhanga Māori i Tāmaki Makaurau – Auckland's Māori Economy report prepared by Business and Economics Research (BERL), which reveals the vastly untapped potential of the Māori economy.

TSI’s General Manager Tania Pouwhare says the report not only highlights the exponential growth of this sector, but it also exposes the many and all too familiar challenges that hold back Māori from equal economic prosperity.

“Even before Covid-19, the Auckland economy was no rockstar if you were Māori. The pandemic restrictions over the last two years have fallen on the shoulders of Tāmaki Makaurau and have hit south and west Auckland first and hardest. What this means for whānau is a sharp decline in household incomes and a long, painful trudge back to the starting line which could take decades.”

“The report clearly shows the growth in employment and entrepreneurship, but it also shows the rapid growth in the need for government assistance being exacerbated by two main factors – in-work poverty and low home ownership.”

Tāmaki Makaurau is home to more Māori than anywhere else in the world, with the largest concentration of our nation’s Māori-owned businesses based here, yet there is an increasing gap in support for Māori economic development in Tāmaki Makaurau.

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Councillor Angela Dalton for Manurewa-Papakura Ward points out “small businesses in Tāmaki Makaurau are absolutely wearing the brunt of the lockdowns with the current one being absolutely brutal for business, and it is unfathomable that Wellington holds the view that we are weathering the storm better than most.”

With the city emerging from 107 days of the Delta lockdown, the road to economic recovery will be long and difficult, particularly for our Māori communities, but there is an opportunity to create a more equitable reality for all, and it starts with backing our Māori businesses.

“The Māori economy is growing faster than the overall economy, and it’s clear that continuous investment into this sector is crucial if we are to see an equitable recovery for whānau,” says Manukau Ward Councillor Alf Filipaina.

Te Ōhanga Māori i Tāmaki Makaurau provides important cues as to what needs accelerating and investment, as well as identifying where we are failing Māori so we can intervene effectively and change course.

Pouwhare is optimistic about the future and believes most of us want more egalitarian communities to weave a stronger social fabric, but there is still work ahead.

“You don’t have to look very hard to see that Tāmaki Makaurau is a tale of two cities and if we want an equitable economic recovery in the wake of Covid-19, we need central government to work with us to inject a surge of targeted and intelligent investment into the Maōri economy.

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