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Maori economy valued at $37 billion

The Maori economy was worth $37 billion to New Zealand in 2010, Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples said in a speech this afternoon.

The speech was part of a review of the Maori contribution to NZ Inc.

Mr Sharples told a gathering on the Wellington waterfront that Maori gave New Zealand a unique edge over its competitors.

New Zealand was tiny on the world stage, especially when international markets such as China and India are considered, Mr Sharples said.

"Every developed nation around the world is competing to enter these markets that are emerging as the new global-powers of the 21st century," he said.

"It is vital that New Zealand has a coordinated approach to our engagement with these nations.

"We also need to be unique. We need a value proposition that our much larger competitors don’t have. That value proposition is Maori."

Overseas markets, and international visitors to New Zealand, are increasingly receptive to the cultural distinctiveness inherent in indigenous products and services, Mr Sharples said.

"Maori goods and services are unique and it is the tikanga Maori aspects of those goods and services that make them unique. Not just in the design or the materials, but in the way we do business.

"We are in a new era of business and people today want to know the story behind their product – they want to know its whakapapa."

Increasingly, Maori organisations are becoming significant contributors to the wider New Zealand economy, he said.

"Ngai Tahu is the South Island’s largest company and Treaty of Waitangi settlements continue to provide a platform for tribal and Maori led growth."

Mr Sharples said prudent investment and an intergenerational outlook have seen tribes prosper, even in the depths of the last recession.

"Traditionally focused on primary industry, our tribal businesses are increasingly looking to diversify portfolios: telecommunications; property; carbon forestry; digital technology; and of course, power generation.

"Our businesses include partnerships with government, private companies and overseas investors. Maori businesses and entrepreneurs are working together both domestically and internationally on major economic initiatives.

"NZ Inc is that much stronger with Maori as an integral part of it. This is our unique edge we have over the rest of the world."

More by Colin Williscroft

Comments and questions

Ngai Tahu Holdings might be the South islands largest company but it or the social arm of Ngai Tahu has done nothing for its people.

They settled in 1997/98 and yet there are very few Maori in senior management positions - and practically none in Ngai Tahu Holdings. You would have thought that by now half the senior management is Maori and there was a natural succession plan in place for the next CEO to be Maori.

The smart white boys they hired have no interest in that and are doing the opposite.

Even the Ngai Tahu Holdings board is pakeha dominated and even has Sandy Maier on it - and to make it worse he joined in the beginning of August 2010 whilst CEO of SCF and in negotiations with Ngai Tahu to buy SCF.

Ngai tahu are not a great example of how great the Maori economy is - they are yesterdays model
Tainui and other smaller north Island Iwi are much smarter

tautoko Anon..of course the 'white boy' is there, it was never about the maori in the first doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to work it out...

Maori give NZ a competitive edge over its competitors? What in? Dole bludging, drug taking, teanage pregnancies, singing off key, criminality, prison occupancy, .....

That comment is a bit retarded
Sharples is quite rightly saying that NZ Inc can leverage off the Maori culture to enhance sales - the Chinese relate well to maori and are already exploring ways of working together in seafood and agriculture and more importantly in Maori branded product which demands premium prices

Ask Keith palmer CEO of Wakatu Inc in Nelson - they have great aquaculture , wine and food businesses and are rebranding to take advantage of exactly what Sharples is saying.

So Half Pissed if you were a smart boy you would work out ways how to join Maori or how to take advantage of these FACTS

My thoughts exactly - where are they coming from with their comments as the statistics lead us to believe different


Ngai Tahu Investments helped my kids get through university and we have a savings plan with them too. When ChCh fell they were at the local marae helping out everyone not just Maoris. My eldest will get work experience in a tribal business during university holidays: Anonymous and Half pissed (above) you don't know what ya talking about mate, get over yourselves.

Wow even when Maori do well in business everyone still hates us. - sigh -

Any Maori, or any other NZer, will slowly earned his respects from others by respecting others first...

that respect goes both ways .. the bloggers above started off with no respect for maoris by stereotyping and putting us down first of. have a go at them for not respecting others Lame Kiwi

Why cant we stop seperating everything from Maori to Non Maori and get on and just brand with what ever works- Less in fighting more productivity less negativity = Happy NZ together...

Thats just right-wing political correctness. "we are all born with the same opportunities and we are all the same- look at Paula Bennett".

Yeah, all stumped up by the taxpayer.

who originally stole it from Maori, and are now compensating for that theft at the rate of cents on the dollar.

Would be worth nothing if the Pakeha hadn't arrived, added value, and stopped Maori from killing each other.

What drivel. Pakeha (including my family who arrived in the 1860s) did not stop Maori killing each other, we facilitated it. Maori were happily "adding value" (even in European terms) to their own lands before confiscation. And if there had been no colonisation you think Maori would have nothing of monetary value now?

Although I hasten to add, Maori did not need any encouragement or much facilitation to visit terrible devastation on each other. And we certainly introduced better technology for exploiting the land. But its wrong to suggest we white fellas rolled over the waves and made them be nice to each other. Or that the technology transfer was reliant on colonisation.

All industries prior to the confiscation of resoures by Pakeha were Maori, everything from forestry export and flour mills to shipping (Hazel Petrie 2006). Where would Pakeha have been had they not been able to steal Maori tribal enterprises post 1840 and rewrite history....?

bringing with them their 'dirty diseases', waipiro, and their greedy ways..yuk!

$37B industry but very little seems to filter down to grass roots Maori. How come we still hear all the time how disadvantaged Maori are?

Would love to see some figures on how much trickles down to the average maori living in a state house.I suspect not much is left after the Brown Mafia and there "con"sultants have fed at the trough!

Worth $37 billion to NZ.?
No.Worth $37 billion to Maori.

you mean apart from the taxes and employment that thay produce?

yes worth 37 billion to nz because unlike non maori we will not be selling everything overseas ...

so what about the thousands of Hectares of NZ land Nga Tahu have hocked off to foreigners for the top money ?

The main problem with the Ngai Tahu model is that its empire primarily consists of existing assets either acquired as part of the settlements or purchased with settlement proceeds. As yet, there's been relatively little 'growing of the business', it's been mostly about acquisition.

There's nothing wrong with that as a starting strategy, but it can't continue indefinitely.

$37 Billion - well its time for maori to stop moaning

see what i mean, maoris earning decent living, paying taxes, actually creating jobs - for lots of non maoris too - and we get slammed by you lot .. cant do nothing right. i give up.

Nope don't give up.
But if Pakeha hadn't arrived, Maori wouldn't be worth $37 billion today.

we are all new zealanders, but if we do something wrong, we're maoris again ...or islanders .. thing is with pakehas its you as individuals who are responsible for your decisions .. with us, you blame the lot of us, yeah right

we are all new zealanders, but if we do something wrong, we're maoris again ...or islanders .. thing is with pakehas its you as individuals who are responsible for your decisions .. with us, you blame the lot of us, yeah right

we are all new zealanders, but if we do something wrong, we're maoris again ...or islanders .. thing is with pakehas its you as individuals who are responsible for your decisions .. with us, you blame the lot of us, yeah right

No wonder the Govt. is short of cash for health care etc.

what a total exaggeration as usual: ngai tahu are the biggest company in south island and are investing in it, money is not going to china, sydney, london: unlike this pakeha govt who would be happy to sell us all there

As you can see the Maoris are a shinning example to all New Zealand of what hard work dedication and commitment is.We were all wrong about them being on drugs sitting around on the dole and stealing.No no quietly they were all getting themselves educated and were working hard building up big corporations.And they did it all by themselves with no complaints wingeing or moaning with no help from the taxpayer.Yes they are an example to us all.

sounds like your the jealous whinging moaner laurence,

Hemi youre right negative stereotyping is wrong my apologies and I cant understand why New Zealanders would think like that,do you?But we wont get fooled by your antics anymore.We just had no idea you are actually driven corporate go getters busy making deals.Dont listen to naysayers they will never understand the Maori business model.Cheers

People are 'brave' behind a keyboard..because they can be! Confronted by debate 'face to face' they wouldn't handle..'they created the word 'closet' so this is where they remain until it's safe to come out! Yeah whatever!!!

sounds like your the jealous whinging moaner laurence,

amazing how brave racist, hateful and jealous people are when they are behind their keyboards: get over yourselves, maoris are not all the same, some are idiots, most are not, just like whites

All good Marly, by the time I retire us maoris, islanders and asian new zealanders will be the majority so they will see what its like to be a minority in your own land

You just wish Maori could make a go of it without their "Gimme -gimme" hands out all the time.

Is no one else proud of the redress that we as a people have made to the native inhabitants of NZ. Compare to the shameful treatment for Aborigines and Indians. If all of the money flowed straight down to the Moaris on the dole queue you would accuse Maoridom of wasting the redress they were provided with. Maoridom are doing exactly the right thing by investing for the future to create a sustainable manner of benefitting their people.

We do make a go of it, well many of us do Bayleaf but you have to remember we still feel very bitter about the suppression of our culture and theft of our resources. No it wasn't all one way, we weren't always the victims but really we will not stop feeling this until we truly are a part of this society and not expected to roll over and continue to fit in with mainstream. Financial success is giving us the confidence and independence to be who we really are on our own terms. Makes for a more interesting New Zealand. Nga mihi

* sigh * i've nver been in prison, nor a gang, never been on any kind of benefit, work an honest job, pay my taxes, brought up my kids, care for my old parents and dont let them go into homes: and donate a lot of time at the marae helping out: but half pissed and anonymous above still think me and all of us maoris are jake the muss: trying to reason with people like you 2 is like trying to reason with a drunk - not worth it.

Maybe I'm a bit slow off the mark, but what exactly is " NZ Inc " ?

Moari have been under valued,35 billion is pitty cash,wot about wot our tipuna left as,an wot they had to suffer...that itself was worth Trillionz...35 billion is jst a luk thorough the window...