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The Future Is Māori

With Māori values becoming an increasingly integral part of Aotearoa New Zealand’s society, the future of our economy is Māori, and it is bright, Reserve Bank Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby says.

Mr Hawkesby was speaking on a panel at the Institute of Directors’ New Zealand 2021 Leadership Conference today, to discuss insights from Te Ōhanga Māori - The Māori Economy 2018 report.

The report, which was produced by economic research centre BERL and commissioned by Te Pūtea Matua – the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, paints a picture of a Māori economy that is vibrant, varied, and rapidly growing.

Speaking about the many ways in which Te Ao Māori is increasingly influencing the work at Te Pūtea Matua, Mr Hawkesby reflected on the social shifts that are bringing Māori ideas into the mainstream.

“When I say that the future is Māori, I’m not just talking about Māori people, Māori businesses, or Māori jobs. Perhaps one of the most powerful ways in which Māori will shape the future of Aotearoa New Zealand is through Māori values.”

He discussed how Māori values such as manaakitanga (respect and generosity), kaitiakitanga (guardianship), and whanaungatanga (relationships) have shaped Māori economic relationships for generations, which are increasingly being reflected in business.

This was most evident in the rise of incorporating ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) factors into investment decisions, which had shifted from a niche to standard practice over the past ten years in capital markets.

“Firms which can effectively generate a virtuous circle of economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, financial inclusion, and cultural diversity are being rewarded for their efforts.”

Mr Hawkesby points out that these values are reflected particularly strongly in younger generations.

“As directors, these are the values of your future employees, customers, shareholders, stakeholders, and business partners.”

He concludes that an understanding of Te Ao Māori must be a core competency for all New Zealand directors, as it will shape the economic environment of Aotearoa New Zealand for years to come.

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