Iwi business flourishing – more benefits for members

The Māori economy has powered beyond $50 billion and business-savvy iwi are now extending their investment into more social initiatives that directly benefit iwi members, says Chapman Tripp.

Te Aopare Dewes, Hoa Rōia Kaitiriwā (senior associate), is commenting on the firm’s annual publication – Te Ao Māori – trends and insights 2018, released today. The report (also published in te reo Māori) says large and medium-sized iwi are focussing on how they can provide tangible benefits to members – and make Treaty settlements relevant to whānau.

“These expansive and expensive programmes, particularly health, housing and savings schemes, are just the beginning of what we expect will be the future of iwi re-investing in whānau,” Dewes said.

“One in three Māori are 15-years-old or younger and have grown up in the digital world - so it’s important iwi realise they need to stay ahead of the technology game when it comes to communication and keeping in touch with our whānau and members.”

On the language front, Dewes feels optimistic and proud that mainstream Aotearoa is finally realising the benefit of learning te reo Māori, and says it’s a positive step for the business-community that leaders are starting to understand te reo is both culturally and commercially beneficial.

Dewes said another key trend identified in the report is the increasing acceptance of taonga in the law.

“We expect this to be replicated across other environmental areas in Aotearoa. An example is the Record of Understanding the government signed with Taranaki iwi last December, in which Taranaki Maunga would receive legal personality.”

In terms of Treaty settlements, Dewes said Minister Andrew Little had adopted the 2020 deadline inherited from National for the settlement of all historical claims, and the government is continuing to push forward with settlements.

“As historical claims are settled, we see the Office of Treaty Settlements evolving into a Ministry that collaborates with and is committed to iwi relations moving forward. Of course, government will also need to continue to have resources available for dealing with contemporary Treaty breaches.”

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