News Item

​The Maori-iwi experience

News 17 May 2017

Estimated to have a shared wealth of $40 billion, and set to grow exponentially, the Maori or Iwi economy is booming. With its biggest investments lie in fisheries, forestry and farming industries, Trevor Moeke says Maori are searching for more and more onshore partners and offshore customers as their businesses grow and expand.

The Principal Advisor Crown Maori Capability for the Office of the Executive at the NZ Treasury and Deputy Chair and Director for Kahungunu Asset Holding Company (KAHC), owned by Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated (NKII), was a panellist at the Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) and Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association (PITIA) hosted Pacific-New Zealand Fisheries Forum in Auckland on May 15.

He was part of the discussion themed around the Maori-iwi experience.

Maori have been involved in fisheries in New Zealand and trading throughout the Pacific trading for thousands of years, before the arrival of Captain Cook.

Since the Maori Fisheries Settlement 1992, and the subsequent allocation of assets to the 57 iwi in NZ, Maori are in the best possible position they have been in for nearly 250 years, Trevor says.

“Now we are finding out what the next 250 years will look like,” he adds.

Collaboration with offshore partners will feature strongly, with iwi such as Ngati Kahungunu hosting events such as February’s Taniwha Dragon Economic Summit, and investigating potential partnerships.

Fellow forum panellist Manuka Henare, an Associate Professor in Maori Business Development in the Department of Management and International Business and former Associate Dean (Maori and Pacific Development), says the colonials killed business for Maori, and removed them from the fishing sector.

“We are now re-learning the business of fishing,” he says.

There are many improvements to be made, such as reducing the wastage of fish; and introducing best practices which will increase the yield, and aligns with Maori – and Pacific ideology that they are the caretakers of the ocean.

Panel facilitator Dion Tuuta the Chief Executive Officer of Te Ohu Kaimoana - established to manage the fishery quota allocation to iwi after the fisheries settlement in 1992 - spoke about issues affecting Maori fisheries during the panel.

Issues include the lack of recognition of Maori commercial fishing rights from the Government of the day and the need for Maori to exert control over what is rightfully theirs; the lack of understanding around the quota management system; and the politicisation of fisheries.

The forum featured several key-note speakers, including Rangimarie Hunia (pictured above), Ngati Whatua Chief Executive Officer and Director, Te Ohu Kaimoana (Maori Fisheries Trust), who also shared information on the emerging Maori economy, and the need for Maori to look after the fisheries resource.

She says there is potential for Pacific and Maori to create partnerships within the fisheries sector.

These partnerships could be based on sustainability, and the shared belief between Pacific and Maori people, that they are the guardian and caretakers of the ocean; and the establishment of cooperatives, which increases quotas, and where participants all have a voice and equal rights.

Port Nicholson Fisheries is a great example of a cooperative, where its shareholder helps maximise returns on its crayfish quota and allows its shareholders better access to more markets, Rangimarie says.

The Maori-iwi experience was just one aspect of the Pacific-NZ Fisheries Forum, which saw approximately 100 delegates from around the region and NZ discussing issues relating to sustainability, labour and skills training.

Visit Port Nicolson Fisheries, and Te Ohu Kaimoana for more information on these organisations.

(Thumbnail picture caption: Manuka Henare - left - and Trevor Moeke.)