11 Jul 2012

Maori innovation deal

6:35 am on 11 July 2012

Federation of Maori Authorities leaders expect an agreement they have reached with Industrial Research Ltd to significantly speed up Maori business innovation.

Leaders asked the state science company to help boost a science and innovation programme for Maori businesses.

FOMA chief executive Te Horipo Karaitiana,says the opportunity to work with IRL staff is exciting.

He says the state science company has experience at taking an innovative idea and making it a commercial reality.

Mr Karaitiana says many of the more than 150 organisations which the federation represents, are interested in developing projects which will make money in the short term.

High on the agenda with IRL will be development of a science and business intern programme for talented young Maori.

One iwi which has been active in initiating business projects is Ngati Porou on the East Coast, where chairman Apirana Mahuika says the tribe has been involved in science and technology for the past three and a half years.

Ngati Porou is in the process of preparing memorandums of understanding with several universities.

Mr Mahuika says late last year Massey University scientists visited the East Coast to discuss ways the iwi could increase the productivity of farms and forests.

And Ngati Porou is now working on how it can bring on board scientists to work alongside the iwi in further developing farming and fishing businesses.