Aboriginal company looks to boost Māori job prospects

10:52 am on 20 August 2015

An Australian Aboriginal asbestos removal company is looking at expanding its business into New Zealand and offering employment to tāngata whenua.

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Demand for asbestos removal has spiked due to the demolitions cause by the Christchurch quakes. Photo: RNZ / Nicola Grigg

The idea was raised at the recent Māori Business Network hui in Sydney that looked at the idea of partnering up with different Aboriginal enterprises.

The meeting was attended by the Australian Māori Business Network's co-ordinator Brent Reihana and the Minister of Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell.

The director of Indigi Asbestos and Demolition Removal, Paul Towney, who was also at that hui, said because he supports indigenous development in Australia, he was keen to do the same thing with Māori in Aotearoa.

"I saw the demand with the Christchurch earthquake rebuild projects and there is a lot of demolition asbestos removal," Mr Towney said.

"I thought of a cross-cultural work experience of coming together and I put it to Brent and also to the Minister at the recent meeting.

"I'd like to build my indigenous business internationally and also build local Māori indigenous prospects in New Zealand, too."

Mr Towney - who comes from the Wiradjuri tribe in central New South Wales - is the founder and sole director of Indigi Asbestos that was established in 2012.

Indigi Asbestos and Demolition Removal is the first indigenous asbestos Company in NSW.