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CLIENT NEWS - Māori economic development plan refresh to benefit Waikato communities

Māori economic development plan refresh to benefit Waikato communities

The refresh of the Waikato region’s Māori economic development action plan Te Whare Ohaoha will provide a clear roadmap towards a prosperous region, according to Te Puni Kōkiri (Waikato-Waiariki) and Waikato’s regional economic development agency Te Waka.

The refreshed Waikato Region Māori Economic Action Plan and Agenda – Te Whare Ohaoha was unveiled by Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta at a stakeholder event today (Friday 14 June) in Hamilton. It outlined a series of actions to maximise economic outcomes, grow social and cultural wellbeing and encourage collaboration for the benefit of the Māori economy in Waikato.

The event was hosted by Waikato’s regional economic development agency Te Waka, Te Hūmeka Waikato Māori Business Network and the Ministry of Māori Development Te Puni Kōkiri.

Te Whare Ohaoha outlines several high-level outcomes that have been achieved since the original Māori economic development action plan was developed in February 2018, with the goal to position the Māori economy as a key driver of economic success and social and cultural wellbeing in the Waikato region.

Te Puni Kōkiri Regional Manager for Waikato – Waiariki Rachel Jones says the outcomes reported this year can be attributed to enhanced collaboration and strategic partnerships among Waikato stakeholders to grow the Māori economy.

“We’ve completed research on the way Māori businesses collaborate so we can best provide appropriate networking opportunities.”

“We’re grateful for the support and work of our iwi leaders, rangatahi representatives and whānau enterprises who have worked alongside the Te Hūmeka Waikato Māori Business Network on this action plan. We’ve also been able to encourage engagement across different sectors, which has been vital in developing new relationships and networks that will help propel different projects forward in the future.”

Market research will also be undertaken to assist Māori tourism ventures to support a key sector that was identified in the original action plan.

Rachel Jones says a common theme in Te Whare Ohaoha is its focus on supporting youth and fostering health and wellbeing in Waikato’s communities.

“We’ve supported and built a number of mentoring and youth programmes alongside iwi and other interested groups, such as the Secondary School Employer Partnership, which are designed to foster the talents and aspirations of our rangatahi and encourage them to build their capabilities well into the future.”

“We recognise the rangatahi area as a key driver for Māori economic success, so we’re committed to working in partnership with others to improve their outcomes and ensuring sustained growth well into the future.”

Te Waka CEO Michael Bassett-Foss says Te Waka is proud to support Te Whare Ohaoha and Māori economic development in the region.

“It’s fantastic to see our growing Māori economy reflected in a strong ecosystem where Māori business is set up to thrive and connected to the support, resources, and funding they need to grow sustainably,” he says.

“Te Whare Ohaoha is an example of where we’ve been able to lend our support, whether that’s through enabling connections and conversations with the right people and groups, or supporting other major economic development projects that will have a positive impact on the Māori economy.”