30 Jan 2019

Symposium looks at building Māori social economy

6:44 am on 30 January 2019

Iwi leaders are working together and sharing insights on how to build the Māori economy and create jobs.

Generic money.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The Iwi Assets and Māori Land Entities Symposium is underway, marking the start of a series of hui in Waitangi in the lead up to Waitangi Day.

Te Runanga o Ngai Takoto chief executive Rangitane Marsden said those in the room would be responsible for billions of dollars of iwi assets and land.

"What we do is we network around how we build economic, social and environmental relationships together.

"We link those into our local strategies, our regional strategies and also the national iwi crown economic strategy as well."

A 2017 report by Chapmann Tripp estimated the Māori economy to be worth $50 billion.

Mr Marsden said there would be representatives from 52 iwi-owned asset companies, ranging from small iwi in settlement, to iwi who have large asset and settlement bases to develop from.

The companies share similarities in owning land, aquaculture, farming and tourism.

"We are looking at how do you build scale," Mr Marsden said.

"The idea is about networking in order to grow the new Māori economy, as a result of the opportunities we have.

"How do we work together to build the Māori economy but also the economy of New Zealand? And how in that space do we create jobs? And how also do we balance environmental sustainability?"

Today's symposium kicks off a series of hui in Waitangi, with the Iwi Chairs Forum taking place there tomorrow and Friday.

"The economic leadership is about getting down to business and growing the economy, which provides opportunities for social change as well."