The recently published Kimihia he Oranga report is the outcome of extensive interviews and research carried out among members of the Tairawhiti Maori business sector.
The comprehensive 120-page publication synthesises the data collected from this research to create an up to date economic profile of Maori businesses and entrepreneurs within the region. The report also provides recommendations about what is needed to create a pathway forward for economic success.
Huti Watson (Ngati Porou) was the project manager of the report and also the chairperson of Ngati Porou Miere Limited Partnership. Huti oversaw the field interviews conducted out in the communities and worked alongside the research writing team to produce the publication.Through her role as project manager, Huti gained an intimate insight into the aspirations and challenges put forward by the Maori business sector.
For this article, Huti has selected some of the key findings that came from the research which are of specific interest to Ngati Porou.
The fostering of entrepreneurship and small to medium business development was a strong theme that came through and it is clear from the participant results, that our whanau on the ground in Ngati Porou are wanting to head in this direction. Rurally based, small to medium business enterprise is one means by which our whanau can take the lead as drivers of economic growth in Ngati Porou, stay at home as ahi kaa, and be able to sustain themselves. This coupled with imminent access to ultrafast broadband opens up a new vista of business possibilities that have not been available to our people before. However, the challenge will be how and whether the support that is needed to make this happen is provided.
Innovation and Research
The development and innovation of more traditional farming and horticultural opportunities including better land utilisation and connecting more closely with research to help make more informed decisions were also areas that Ngati Porou saw that growth could occur.
The maintenance of our culture featured strongly in the research results for Ngati Porou. Our people did not see economic development as something separate from who we were as an iwi, but rather as something quite integral to it, and that our culture and reo must form an important part of our development going forward. Ensuring that our economic aspirations resonate with being culturally, socially and environmentally responsible were also paramount according to the views expressed. For example people did not want economic projects in the rohe that impacted negatively on their environment in particular, and these views came through quite strongly.
Infrastructure and access to support
Infrastructure development was seen as a high need for the Coast and without the investment needed to improve this, it was thought that barriers to development would continue. Many of our whanau thought that transformational change in socio economic outcomes could occur if people were given the same access to the tools and quality of support as the mainstream centres, so this may mean moving business planning, research and education expertise and support to where it is required.
Unique Value Proposition
We as Ngati Porou have amazing stories to tell and there is a world out there waiting to hear them. This can also help us to provide a unique value proposition for our products, and in turn deliver greater texture and pattern to the wider NZ economy. Look out world, here comes Ngati Porou!
Kimihia he Oranga
The title of the Tairawhiti Maori Economic Development report, Kimihia he Oranga, takes its name from the Tairawhiti Maori economic development reference group who commissioned the study.
The group, Kimihia he Oranga were mandated in September 2015, by eleven iwi and representatives from the Maori business sector, and their main aim was to support and advocate on behalf of Tairawhiti iwi and Maori land and businesses to maximise, increase and realise Maori economic potential and opportunity. Kimihia he Oranga may be interpreted to mean ‘Seeking Pathways for Economic Success’.
The Interview Questions
A TEAM of four iwi researchers conducted 67 interviews with iwi and community members living within the Tairawhiti — from Potaka in the north to Mohaka in the south.
For the purposes of the report, the region was segmented into four ‘rohe’ with each of the iwi researchers being assigned a specific region (Rohe 1 – Potaka to Waiapu; Rohe 2 – Waiapu to Whangara; Rohe 3 – Gisborne and surrounding areas; Rohe 4 – Wairoa).
A schedule of thirteen primer questions were developed to guide the interviews and order participants’ responses. The questions were:
1. Describe what you think Maori economic development is?
2. What do you think is needed to support and enhance Maori economic development?
3. How important do you think Maori culture and language is in the context of regional economic development?
4. How do you think we could create more work opportunities in the Tairawhiti rohe?
5. What infrastructure do we need to create these opportunities?
6. What are some innovative ideas we could be doing to enhance the Tairawhiti rohe economic development?
7. How do you think we can achieve them?
8. What do you think are the greatest assets for economic development for Maori?
9. How can we uplift the wellbeing of whanau and hapu?
10. What does economic success mean to you and your whanau?
11. What do you think are the implications of this for iwi economic development?
12. What are your ideas, dreams and aspirations for Maori economic development?
13. Is there anything else you would like to add that you think is important?