INDEPENDENT NEWS

Speech: Sharples - The Key to Maori Development

Published: Tue 24 Nov 2009 02:32 PM
Hon Dr Pita Sharples
Minister of Maori Affairs
Speech : Wellington Chamber of Commerce
Tuesday 24 November 2009, 7am
The Key to Maori Development: The Maori Edge
I was delighted to accept the invitation by the President of the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce; Jo Bansgrove and the Chief Executive, Charles Finney, to speak to you this morning.
Twenty-one years ago, in the 1988 Report of the Royal Commission on Social Policy, Manuka Henare wrote a paper entitled Ngā Tikanga me ngā ritenga o te Ao Māori.
In that paper he suggested,
The leaders, experts, and ancestors of days gone by … signposted the pathways to progress, our task was but to follow their signs. If we, as a distinct people are to enter the 21st Century as Māori, it will be on this path signposted by our ancestors and founded on their standards and values.”
It is a statement that is still instructive in the way we approach Māori development issues, and the opportunities for Māori economic advancement.
It is a very appropriate time to be considering Māori development in the broadest possible sphere.
To be a successful Māori business we must be able to satisfy quadruple bottom line accounting – cultural, social, environmental and economic.
This means that we must take into account profits, losses, revenues, environmental impacts, while at the same time considering the health, the vitality, the social justice for the people around us. It is about prospering in both new and different cultural and economic traditions – taking up the pathways to progress while still respecting the path signposted by our tupuna.
I suggest it is an appropriate time to be doing so in the context of yesterday’s announcements around Emissions Trading.
And I want to just refer to the ETS situation as an example of what I mean by the Māori edge – the distinctive difference we make.
The concept of climate change is a very familiar philosophy within Te Ao Māori.
You may be familiar with Matariki – the Māori New Year. Matariki also signals the beginning of the Māori economic year where our ancestors evaluated what they had banked in the pātaka and rua for sustenance over the winter.
It was a time to count up what investments they had made in ensuring sustainability, by not over exploiting the natural resources upon which their very survival depended.
A time to assess what kai reserves had been put aside as a contingency fund. They had an acute sense of saving so that they could provide the basics of hapu and whanau life, shelter, sustenance and warmth.
Not for them the accumulation of wealth for its own sake.
Within this worldview there is the recognition of collective responsibility for environmental and social outcomes, for care and preservation of Papatuānuku me Ranginui.
So when it came to ETS we followed time-honoured principles in trying to care for our whanau; look after our whenua; uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi and pursue a course of action which would improve Māori economic outcomes.
We care passionately for the wellbeing of our families, and so halving the petrol and power costs will be particularly important to cushion the impacts of the recession on low-income families.
We have also been thrilled to have secured an additional $24 million in new money to insulate homes for Community Service Card holders.
We negotiated to get indigenous trees planted and our environment valued as part of our common inheritance as New Zealanders.
We have achieved a commitment to support the agricultural sector into taking up more environmentally sustainable practices; invest in partnership projects to work with all iwi on indigenous tree planting, and ensuring New Zealand owners of quota receive allocation.
And we have negotiated a Treaty clause so that iwi and Māori will continue to take up the responsibility to maintain a relationship with the Crown as a key feature of the ETS legislation.
I wanted to draw on this example as a model for the type of thinking which I think epitomises the way in which Māori have always been able to mobilise and capitalise on the opportunities we are faced with.
Our history of creativity and innovation is embedded in the experience of entrepreneurship from mai rā anō. We must always recognise the contribution that Māori enterprise and entrepreneurship has made to our nation's economy.
Such a history has been with us since time immemorial. I recall reading the reflections of the first Roman Catholic Bishop in New Zealand, the Right Rev. Jean Baptiste Francois Pompallier.
One of the fascinating features of his legacy, is the fact that in 1842 Bishop Pompallier was responsible for the publication of 6,000 handmade copies of the 648-page Ko te Ako me te Karakia o Te Hāhī Katorika Romana (The Teachings and Prayers of the Roman Catholic Church).
The fact that Māori, who at that time were predominantly an oral culture, were also sufficiently literate to embrace such complex texts is probably not commonly known.
But Bishop Pompeillier also reported that if you gave the hapu a slate, a piece of chalk and a basic English vocabulary within a few months you would find them fluent writers and readers of English.
That is the spirit of initiative and endeavour I am talking about when I refer to the Māori edge.
It is the Māori edge which has carried our Māori leaders throughout the centuries.
Many of you may be familiar with the encouragement provided by Sir Apirana Ngata in these famous words:
E tipu e rea mo ngā rā o tou ao;
ko to ringa ki ngā rakau a te Pākehā
Hei ara mō tō tinana
Ko to ngakau ki nga taonga a o tipuna Māori
Hei tikitiki mo tou māhuna
Ko tō wairua ki to Atua, nana nei nga mea katoa.
Grow up and thrive for the days destined to you.
Your hands to the tools of the Pakeha
to provide physical sustenance,
Your heart to the treasures of y our Māori ancestors
as a diadem for your brow,
Your soul to your God, to whom all things belong.
This verse of Ta Apirana, encourages Māori to give their hands to the tools of the Pākehā as a means of maintaining their physical well being, whilst giving their hearts to the treasures of their ancestors – in many respects taking the best of both worlds.
We can learn from that vision as a nation if we recognize that the growth of the Māori asset base and the strong entrepreneurial drive within the Māori business sector could be used to help invert the annual pyramid of spending, in order to focus on the future.
In other words, what’s good for Māori is great for the nation.
Māori have acquired a glowing international reputation as entrepreneurs through the fruits of hard work, diligence, and perseverance. In fact the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor has confirmed we are the third most entrepreneurial people of the world.
That again, is the Māori edge.
In short, a Māori business must operate in both a general business environment while also being consistent with their own philosophical value systems, their own kaupapa and tikanga.
This concept represents the thinking and activities which many in Māoridom accept began at Hui Taumata in 1984 – the catalyst for the currency of Māori economic development. It was stressed then, that Māori progress could not be accomplished without taking cognisance of Māori values and the realities of modern Māori experiences.
The modern concept of Māori development stresses economic self sufficiency, social equity, cultural affirmation – that is, formulating development according to Māori aspirations, and a greater measure of Māori autonomy.
Ultimately, this is what drives us – we are striving for our personal wellbeing, a secure cultural identity, the retention of Māori values, wealth and sound economic base, environmental integrity and autonomy.
Finally, I want to just update you on some of the developments that I have brought together under the authority of the Māori Economic Taskforce.
The Māori Economic Taskforce was a direct outcome of the Māori Economic Summit I hosted earlier this year and that, of course, was a response to the global financial crisis we and the rest of the world, found ourselves in.
Within a period of less than two weeks, no less than 100 Māori leaders of iwi, incorporations, hapū, social and health provider organisations, educationalists, and businessmen and women, converged to work out how we would collectively support and protect Māori during the recession.
The aim of the Summit was to bring together Māori knowledge and expertise to take a leading role in the nation's economy.
Māori Economic Taskforce
I have the privilege of heading the Taskforce, which has seven iwi and business leaders.
o Mark Solomon, (Ngāi Tahu). Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu for the past 11 years. Director, Te Papa Tongarewa
o Ngahiwi Tomoana, (Ngāti Kahungunu). Chair of Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, based in Hastings. Led major iwi initiatives in housing, land development and aquaculture
o Bentham Ohia, (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Pukenga, Ngāti Ranginui, Te Ati Awa, Ngāti Rarua). Pouhere (CEO), Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, for the past five years. Chair, Te Tauihu o nga Wānanga (national body of wānanga). Trained teacher, senior manager at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa for 14 years.
o Daphne Luke, (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine). Tumuaki, Te Arahanga o Nga Iwi Māori Economic Development Agency, Ōtaki. Self-employed business coach and consultant. Post-graduate lecturer in Māori entrepreneurship, Te Wānanga o Raukawa
o John Tamihere, (Ngāti Porou ki Harataunga), Consultant and broadcaster, CEO of Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust. Former Minister of Statistics and Associate Minister of Māori Affairs (Economic Development)
o June McCabe, (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa and Te Aupouri). Chair of Exelerator, New Zealand Leadership Institute, Auckland University. Board member of Television New Zealand Limited (TVNZ), and a former director of ACC and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund Limited. Former Director of Corporate Affairs, Westpac Bank
o Rob McLeod, (Ngāti Porou). Managing Partner, Ernst and Young New Zealand. Chair of the NZ Business Roundtable, Member of Capital Markets Task Force. Lead negotiator, Nga Haeata (Ngāti Porou hapū Treaty settlement committee). Chair of Government Tax Review in 2001.
These are movers and shakers of Māoridom. Collectively, they bring to the table expertise in tribal asset development, the primary sector, education and training, small to medium enterprises, social and community development, investment and enterprise, and economic growth and infrastructure.
Progress to date
The work has been intense and passionate as we have advanced themes of collaboration, education and training, enterprise and leveraging off existing resources.
We’ve made some good progress in each of these areas.
Trades training and skills for Māori is one of the lead initiatives of the Taskforce. Essentially this is about creating an environment of ‘doing more, with less, to achieve more’.
We have been doing this by bringing together Māori providers, iwi/ Māori incorporations and existing providers of Trade Training to develop Māori Trade Training programmes, using the assets and programmes of existing providers and Māori PTEs, Wānanga or other Māori providers, with financial support from Iwi organisations for student fees and resources. So far, we have:
o set a target of 1,200 more qualified trade trainees by the end of 2014.
o met with iwi groups (Te Whānau Apanui, Tainui, Te Atiawa, Ngāi Tahu) to identify ways to use iwi assets to create training opportunities for Māori.
o developed a framework that incorporates pastoral care and tikanga into traditional trade training to improve achievement rates for Māori.
o launched ‘Māori in Industry and Trades training’ – a joint initiative with InfraTrain – the ITO for the civil infrastructure industry. This exciting initiative is a step towards an additional 1,820 Māori receiving training, most at Level 4 and above on the National Qualifications Framework – in industries with strong employment prospects.
In the area of investment, capital and enterprise the Taskforce has also identified the E Tipu Initiative for the Primary Sector.
We are also focused on improving Māori asset and capital productivity and utilisation, and creating opportunities to partner with the Crown in strategic infrastructure investments.
To that end, the Taskforce has met with iwi leaders to develop a framework for iwi investment and inter-iwi collaboration, including a tikanga based approach to iwi investment, and we’ve also commissioned research on pooling assets to increase Private Public Partnership opportunities for Māori investment and training and employment opportunities.
We’re also aiming to improve Māori SMEs’ access to information and support across the public and private sectors and recently set up Kotuitui Inc – a network of Māori business clusters.
We recognise that we need to lift Māori participation in the innovation sector by improving access to Research and Development. Getting the investment decision right has quantum earning possibilities – the Māori asset base is conservatively estimated at $16 billion today without R and wider innovation-related investment - the opportunity for innovation cannot be ignored in tomorrow’s conversations.
It is a sign of the times for technology to be at the forefront of many, if not all of New Zealand’s business endeavors’ – including Māori business endeavours.
As we make progress with all these initiatives, we aim to do so by remaining grounded in kaupapa/tikanga Māori.
This has been a fast and furious gallop through Māori development.
We have so much to contribute to the health and wellbeing of this nation, across all spheres of development.
It is an opportunity for transformation, for liberation and for celebration that we welcome with every step that we take.
Tēnā tātou katoa.
ENDS

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