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Strategies for Māori economic development

Thursday, 21 May 2015, Whakatāne

Research identifies strategies for Māori economic development

Critical success factors for Māori economic development are identified in the report on a three-year research programme by Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in partnership with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga.

The report He Mangōpare Amohia: Strategies for Māori Economic Development will be launched at Mātaatua, Te Mānuka Tūtahi, in Whakatāne today (Thursday, 21 May).

He Mangōpare Amohia details the findings of Te Tupunga Māori Economic Development Research Programme, undertaken with support and research funding from Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga with the aim of transforming Māori/iwi economic development.

Distinguished Professor Graham Hingangaroa Smith led the research programme, and the four participating iwi – Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Whānau-a-Apanui and Ngāpuhi – brought their insights and aspirations to the research.

Distinguished Professor Smith said the project asked critical questions derived from iwi and reflecting the interests of Māori, iwi and community.

“Our intention is to address the significant silence and absence of Māori and iwi answers to the question of ‘what counts as transforming Māori and iwi economic development?’

“A key issue for Māori and iwi is greater self-determining influence over the models of development that they utilise, and ensuring that these models appropriately reflect their economic interests and also their social and cultural development aspirations. The power to self-develop is a key strategy.

“We need to give more attention to the enactment of the Māori economy, to its ownership by the people, and therefore the transforming potential of the persisting high and disproportionate levels of Māori social, economic and cultural underdevelopment.

“Māori and iwi expectations are not simply focused on the bottom line; they are also simultaneously focused on the impacts on the people and culture. When economic, cultural and social outcomes of success are attained as ‘joint outcomes’ then we are more likely to be achieving Māori well-being.”

Distinguished Professor Smith said: “An important issue for iwi self-development has been to ensure that iwi governance is not devolved to sub-groups such as economic sub-committees.

“An issue here is the capacity and capability of the governance group itself and the necessity to have economic expertise at the rūnanga level in order to maintain an authority and direction over those responsible for growing and sustaining the wealth of the iwi.

“There was insufficient attention by some iwi leadership to social and cultural outcomes for iwi members and an imbalanced emphasis on wealth creation.

“Our concern is also for the prosperity of the nation as a whole, given that this outcome is inextricably linked to Māori economic development and success.

“The answers are within ourselves; our struggle should not be so much for self-determination as it should be to be self-determining; our struggle for change should be ongoing, an every-day, every-moment concern.”

Director of the Research Office at Awanuiārangi, Professor Annemarie Gillies, said the research comprised a series of interlinking projects, each with its own set of objectives.

“The initial research sought to establish aspirational frameworks and models for Māori economic development culminating in the identification of transforming principles that underpinned a range of strategies and models used by iwi and Māori organisations, with a summary of ‘best practice’ insights from iwi.

“All of these projects will help iwi to enact the Māori economy within their own culturally defined parameters.”

The full research report can be viewed at:

Please note that the research report is embargoed until 2pm today, Thursday 21 May.


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