Understanding of Te Ao Māori a core skill for all New Zealand business directors - Reserve Bank assistant governor

The Reserve Bank assistant governor says understanding of Māori values is a must for business directors.
The Reserve Bank assistant governor says understanding of Māori values is a must for business directors. Photo credit: Getty Images

Understanding of Te Ao Māori is a must for all New Zealand business directors, according to Reserve Bank assistant governor, Christian Hawkesby.

Discussing the findings of Te Ōhanga Māori - The Māori Economy 2018 report, Hawkesby said the future of Aotearoa's economy is Māori and "it is bright". 

The report, commissioned by Te Pūtea Matua (the Reserve Bank of New Zealand), "paints a picture of a Māori economy that is vibrant, varied, and rapidly growing".

"When I say the future is Māori, I'm not just talking about Māori people, Māori businesses, or Māori jobs. Perhaps one of the most powerful ways in which Māori will shape the future of Aotearoa New Zealand is through Māori values," Hawkesby said at the Institute of Directors' New Zealand 2021 Leadership Conference.

He says Māori values will shape the economic environment for years to come and an understanding of Te Ao Māori is essential for company directors moving forward. 

He explains that manaakitanga (respect and generosity), kaitiakitanga (guardianship), and whanaungatanga (relationships) are values that have shaped Māori economic relationships for generations, and are now being incorporated into business. 

Evidence of this is seen in the rise of incorporating environmental, social and governance factors into investment decisions, he says. 

"Firms which can effectively generate a virtuous circle of economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, financial inclusion, and cultural diversity are being rewarded for their efforts."

Hawkesby says these values have become standard practice over the past 10 years and are "reflected particularly strongly in younger generations". 

"As directors, these are the values of your future employees, customers, shareholders, stakeholders, and business partners." 

Earlier this year it was revealed Māori business grew nearly twice as fast as the rest of the country between 2013 and 2018.

The Reserve Bank Māori Economy report shows business was booming in the five years to 2018.

The country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose 20 percent between 2013 and 2018, but that figure was nearly twice as great for Māori at 37 percent.

"What this report highlights is the Māori economy was at the heart of that and a driving force," Hawkesby said at the time.