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Māori businesses remain strong despite turbulent times

A promising outlook for Māori enterprise

Since 2017 we’ve seen 16.3% growth across the total asset base of Māori entities featured on the Deloitte Top 10 Business Māori Business Index. Whilst recent market challenges have placed new pressures on these organisations, those on the 2021 index collectively represent $6.9 billion in assets.

Ngāi Tahu, Waikato-Tainui and Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei have held their top three positions again this year, which is not unexpected. They have all continued to grow their asset base year-on-year and further stretch ahead of other māori entities on the index.

We’ve seen Government at both a national and local level acknowledge the economic strength of a number of Māori entities, including those on the index, and have chosen to partner with them, particularly on a number of significant regional projects, to help stimulate growth for the country.

The Ruakura Superhub near Hamilton, is a Waikato-Tainui led project and has seen a Government commitment of $36.8m and a $20m non-interest bearing loan through the Provincial Growth Fund and Crown Infrastructure Partners ‘shovel ready’ projects, with Hamilton City Council contributing an addition $5m. (Source: TE PUURONGO AA TAU A WAIKATO-TAINUI, 2021) The Superhub will be a premium logistics and industrial hub and will help connect not only the Golden Triangle but all of Aotearoa.

New to the Top 10 in 2021 are Ātihau-Whanganui, Raukawa Settlement Trust and Te Tumu Paeroa which placed at eight, ninth and tenth respectively.Ātihau-Whanganui saw an increase in total assets of almost $20m year-on-year which was driven by the growth in property, plant and equipment.

Raukawa Settlement Trust saw an increase of $8.8m which can be attributed to the increase in associate investments, including the formation of Hapai Commercial Property Limited, and short-term deposits.

The strength of all these entities financial success is to be commended but who they are as organisations goes much deeper than just meeting financial targets. All of the organisations on the index take their responsibility to contribute to their communities very seriously and social initiatives are just as an important focus as the financials.

In 2021 Ngāi Tahu spent more than $45m on initiatives and projects focused on culture, identity, health, wellbeing, education, and conservation to deliver value for their communities. Similarly, Waikato Tainui progressed initiatives focused on taiao (Environment), hapori (Community), kaupapa (Marae Development Strategy), whai rawa (creating wealth opportunities), and mahi tonu (concerning development of digital solutions, innovation capabilities). This saw $20m distributed to marae, the activation of a mobile vaccination plan, the implementation of health frameworks and the establishment of a housing pilot project.

Māori have always placed value on taking a holistic view of business and in more recent years we’ve seen businesses of all shapes and sizes around the world understand this is an approach they should also be embracing if they want to have long-term success.

2021 has again demonstrated the strength of Māori businesses and as the bar for success keeps being raised higher each year, Māori continue to clear it with ease.

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