Working between iwi is really difficult and you have to get it right says Ngāi Tukairangi Chairman Ratahi Cross.
“We had a pōhiri to make sure we were obeying the tikanga of the local hapū and that we weren’t breaking any rules. We understand that while this may be our land now – we bought it – it’s still their ancient, ancestral homeland and it has mana that is very important to them,” Cross says.
Ngāti Kahungunu iwi leader Ngahiwi Tomoana welcomed the deal seeing it as a step toward renewing whakapapa relationships and creating co-investment opportunities with other Māori.
Other successful examples include the Port Nicholson Fisheries and Aotearoa Fisheries merger, Kaingaroa Timberlands and Te Pūia Tāpapa.
Moreover, Māori are major stakeholders in the tourism sector and are growing their presence in technology and lifestyle sectors.
Hōhepa Tuahine and Kristin Ross are the creators of the world's first line of Māori speaking dolls for children, Pipi Mā.
In 2016, in a world-first, the couple launched Pipi Mā – and their first line of merchandise called the Kōrero range. The dolls sold out in just 36 hours.
Iwi forging their future
A new business model is emerging globally, one that integrates the profit motive with long-term sustainability alongside care for both people and the environment.
Harrison says this is the innate Māori approach to business with strong, ingrained principles of kaitiakitanga (stewardship) and manaakitanga (relationships built on trust and respect).
“Iwi continue to deliver strong year-on-year net asset growth and solid returns but governors of commercial iwi assets have a tough job. We created the Te Tirohanga Whānui report to help,” Harrison says.
Te Tirohanga Whānui, authored by ANZ, provides metrics for iwi/hapū to self-evaluate their business strategy. The 2018 report compiles confidential financial information provided by 34 iwi/hapū with combined assets of $NZ5.4 billion.
“The pressure on iwi to increase returns and distributions is universal, driven by growing populations hungry to see the tangible fruits of the Treaty settlement. Opposing this is the deep responsibility iwi and hapū carry as kaitiaki, often creating challenges in balancing risk and reward.”
“With large assets and business strategies to consider iwi are now seeking guidance to help navigate future decisions and drive investment discussions.”
Harrison says iwi find the annual report particularly useful when communicating their tribe’s relative performance among their peers.
“We continue to work closely with iwi as they develop and execute their investment strategies. We’ve seen a number of recent investments in tourism, horticulture and commercial property which is exciting for iwi,” he says.
With businesses booming, iwi are forging an exciting future, and Harrison says he is committed to working alongside them to help manage investments, help provide direction and drive strategic investment discussions through a long-engrained kaitiaki (guardianship) lens.