Creating an eco-system of Māori entrepreneurs – coupled with a focus on bringing the next generation of leaders through the ranks – are the two priorities for Māori organisations and businesses identified in our just-released report.
Titled Māui Rau: from signal to action, the report has been co-authored by Māori sector leaders at KPMG New Zealand and ASB Bank. It follows a series of 13 roundtable discussions held with Māori businesspeople and leaders throughout New Zealand; and recommends a number of key actions to be taken.
One of the co-authors, Riria Te Kanawa from KPMG, says there is growing recognition of the need to create space for the next cohort of Māori leaders to progress the aspirations of their iwi.
“We have a proud history of leaders who have served our people throughout the generations,” Riria says.
“Now is a time of leadership transition, as we prepare to face future challenges and opportunities. This will require us to balance wisdom and experience, with fresh energy and fit-for-purpose skills. It’s also time to consider how to inject more diversity into our leadership – with a range of age, gender, skills and backgrounds to fully reflect our communities.”
As well as developing fit-for-adaption governance models, says Riria, there are also practical reasons for sharing the leadership load.
“We need to relieve the pressure from those who have shouldered the obligation and responsibility of leadership for a long time.”
The report advocates that the experience of retiring leaders can be re-deployed into other types of leadership, including mentoring their younger counterparts.
In the Māori context, true leadership occurs across a spectrum – whether it’s in the boardroom, on the marae, in the community, or in commerce. The key is for each individual to work out where they can add the most value.”
The report cites Wakatū Incorporation as a leading example of an iwi organisation that is building new leaders. The Nelson-based organisation has developed a full suite of succession programmes to deliver a pipeline of talent into their various business units. This includes an Associate Directorship Scheme, where young professionals aged 30-45 gain governance experience and training.
The Māui Rau report highlights another key priority – to promote an “eco-system of entrepreneurship” among Māori. Kirikaiahi Mahutariki of Māori Financial Solutions at ASB Bank also co-authored the report and says this will require a change of mind-set from the past.“
For the past 20-30 years, we’ve seen a focus on achieving tertiary education and pursuing professional careers. However, the workforce of the future will be radically different – and entrepreneurial skills and attitudes will become increasingly important.”
The Māui Rau report forecasts that a modest increase in the percentage of Māori business-owners and self-employed would inject an additional $28b into the Māori economy by 2033; coupled with the creation of an additional 165,000 jobs.
“We’re currently seeing some really exciting activity and growth in the enterprise space,” Kirikaiahi says.
“This is being supported by a range of new initiatives aimed at Māori entrepreneurs – including the likes of Matariki X, The Leap, and Poutama Trust-led events such as Silicon Maunga and CL2IMB.”
Creativity and adaptability are inherently Māori traits, which need to be nurtured from a young age within a modern education system, Kirikaiahi says. Another emerging trend is the adaptation of mainstream business programmes for a Māori audience.
“We don’t necessarily need to reinvent the wheel,” Kirikaiahi says.
“For example, our report showcases a programme called He Tangata which was launched last year. The organisers took the format of the Google Start-Up weekend and adapted it to suit their target market of Māori participants.”
Riria Te Kanawa
Sector Driver Māori Performance Consulting
Phone: (+64) 04 816 4730
Mobile: (+64) 21 765 697
Māori Financial Solutions,
Phone: (+64) 9 337 4548
Mobile: (+64) 21 999 541