3 Nov 2017

NZ firms could learn from Māori business approach - KPMG

6:06 pm on 3 November 2017

A new report has found kaitiakitanga is at the centre of the way Māori do business.

Maori carving

Photo: 123rf

Kaitiakitanga is central to Māori organisations business practices, the latest corporate responsibility report by KPMG has found.

Māori organisations were included in KPMG's The Road Ahead Survey of Corporate Responsibility Report for the first time.

The survey found four of the top 10 highest revenue earning Māori organisations in New Zealand engaged with corporate responsbility reporting, with Katiakitanga being a key practice of Māori companies.

Kaitiakitanga focuses on guardianship and protection in relation to the environment and its resources.

Report author Erica Miles said other New Zealand companies could learn from Māori organisations.

"I feel the Māori economy is an integral part of fuelling New Zealand's prosperity, I feel that they [Māori organisations] are very important to New Zealand's economy."

The Māori economy was estimated this year to be worth more than $50 billion and Mrs Miles expected this growth to continue.

Mavis Mullins, who was inducted to the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame earlier this year, said Māori organisations are often focused on long term inter-generational growth.

"Kaitiakitanga is part and parcel of the business environment for Māori, you know its just part of that cultural dna that spills into everything we do."

The primary sector, she said was one example of an industry where kaitiakitanga concepts were becoming used more.

"Integral environmental values that Māori have are being adopted by corporate - all we have to do is look at some of the strategic planning that's coming out of entities like Beef and Lamb NZ, Fonterra and Land Corp."

Associate professor and dean at the University of Auckland Business School Chellie Spiller said quadruple bottom lines focused on social, environmental, economic and cultural bottom lines in separation from each other.

"A kaitiakitanga approach looks at all of those in interwoven relationships."

Mrs Spiller said it's an exciting time for Māori organisations as they re-imagine what their businesses look like moving into the future

"I think there's a general sense of confidence amongst Māori business about managing the tensions between kaitiakitanga on one hand and being commercially viable on the other."

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