BNZ appoints Head of Maori Business
Bank of New Zealand has today announced the appointment of Pierre Tohe, of Waikato descent, as Head of Maori Business, a new role at BNZ.
Mr Tohe’s appointment further bolsters the already strong relationship between BNZ and Maori that, to date has seen BNZ provide a wide range of funding and financial advice for a diverse set of Maori business ventures across industries including agribusiness, commercial property and geothermal infrastructure.
“We’re living in unprecedented times in Aotearoa. As Treaty of Waitangi claims are settled we’re witnessing the largest transfer of wealth from the Crown balance sheet to Maori in our lifetime. This huge economic shift will need support from the local banking industry and I firmly believe BNZ has the ability, desire and right attitude to provide this support” says Mr Tohe.
According to Te Puni Kokiri – the Ministry of Māori Development – the total asset base of the 2010 Maori economy stood at $36.9billion – a massive increase of $20billion from 2005/6.
Mr Tohe believes the appointment of a Head of Maori Business represents the formalisation of an ingrained culture of support for Maori business at BNZ.
“I’ve been with the bank for nearly eight years now and I see a genuine desire to promote Maori business excellence. BNZ is involved in a number of initiatives and events such as the Ahuwhenua Trophy and Maori agribusiness scholarships at Massey University and this involvement, at all levels, is only going to grow.”
BNZ Head of Institutional Banking, Shelley Ruha says the new Head of Maori Business role will play an essential part in helping shape future directions for the bank in this sector. “The significance of this appointment cannot be underestimated; we believe Maori business interests in New Zealand are set for a period of substantial growth, and BNZ, with Pierre Tohe’s knowledge of banking and Maori business will be a great advantage in the years to come” says Ruha.
Pierre Tohe has been with BNZ for nearly eight years as a Senior Corporate Lawyer and will bring to the position a solid background and well established networks within the Maori community. Mr Tohe holds a Master of Laws and is fluent in te reo and has already been involved in many initiatives across BNZ including running Maori language and protocol training for senior staff. In addition, Mr Tohe is involved in the New Zealand Maori Law Society and tribal and marae initiatives for his iwi, Waikato . The next 12 months are set to be busy for Mr Tohe as he works closely with the BNZ Partners and Retail businesses and iwi across the country.