Golden run for Māori business - Stats NZ

Golden run for Māori business - Stats NZ

Business is booming for Māori, with assets owned by Māori  authorities topping $15 billion and small- to medium-sized business also doing well, new data shows.

The Tatauranga Umanga Māori survey on Māori business, released by Statistics New Zealand on Wednesday, paints a rosy picture.

It is the most extensive survey looking at the economic strength of 1050 Māori authorities.

Collectively, their assets grew 15.5 percent in 2014 compared to 2013, taking their worth to $15 billion. It was the second strong year of asset growth, with an increase of 13.7 percent on the previous year.

Tatauranga Umanga Māori senior manager Jason Attewell says most of those authorities have a strong base in land and primary assets and they are a strong force in the New Zealand economy.

The main contributor to the asset growth was goodwill, trademarks, shares in associated and subsidiary companies and long-term bonds and loans.

David Taipari, Independent Māori Statutory Board chairman, says if Māori business does well, everyone does well.

"In line with the board's advocacy strategy to expand Māori business beyond the primary sector, we are experiencing an increase in Māori-owned businesses in the infrastructure and IT sectors that make up Auckland's unique Māori economy.

"With Auckland being the largest Māori city in the world, we expect to see this trend continue."  

Meanwhile, small and medium Māori businesses have also seen significant growth, and are exporting to more than 50 countries -- including some in central Africa.

The same survey looked at 660 businesses and found they brought in $44 million worth of exports in 2015 -- an increase of 15 percent on the previous year.

"Their collective sales reached 53 countries, going as far away as Cameroon, the United Kingdom and China, as well as traditional markets such as Australia, where Māori  export trade dates back to the 1820s," Mr Attewell says.

The UK was the biggest market, representing $13.4 million last year. Almost $6 million was exported to central Africa, more than the $5.1 million sent to Australia.

The survey says part of the success of Māori businesses is their innovation, with companies trying to create better goods and services as well as investing in research and development, marketing and design.