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Challenges, opportunities for Māori businesses laid bare in new report


The challenges and opportunities for Māori businesses have been laid bare in a new report on the value they bring to the economy and New Zealanders' wellbeing.

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They’re worth up to $50 billion to New Zealand’s economy. Source: 1 NEWS

A first ever report on Māori businesses by accounting firm BDO has found Māori businesses are going from strength to strength, and they're worth about $50 billion to the economy.

“Māori businesses are really focused on a sustainable business going forward, what that means is they put first and foremost social outcomes, they put whanau outcomes, they put the environment first and cultural outcomes. And then in the next tier down, they look at profits” said Kylee Potae BDO advisory partner.

Tohu is the first Māori owned winery, where the grapes are grown on land in Marlborough owned by the same family for hundreds of years.

“The values, the tikanga that our families have, we try as hard as we can to make sure those values influence everything we do, whether it’s our practices on the vineyard, to the markets we go into, those practices really inform everything we do” says Kerensa Johnston from Tohu Wines.

Designer Nichola Te Kiri believes there's more to business than making money. 

"I very rarely mark my success in regards to profit, yes it is an essential part of business, and you need it, let's not lie, but my success is the people that I can help, my whānau, my culture, my iwi, my hapū" said Ms Te Kiri. 

However, many Māori businesses are struggling to find staff. 

"The biggest challenge that most were facing was people, in fact, and that was around recruiting and retaining good talent. But equally, talent that had a shared mindset and shared value base. That's what we're seeing across business in general but if you imagine in the Māori business environment, the pool of talent is even smaller" says Ms Potae. 

There's also issues surrounding sustainability. 

"We're constantly thinking about our approach to our land and our water, and that's a huge challenge at the moment, with all the issues we're facing globally" says Ms Johnston. 

It's an exciting time for Māori businesses said Ms Te Kiri.

"I'm really proud of a lot of the mahi that a lot of us are doing out there in the industry and I just want to encourage any of those who are starting to keep going"