Māori business identifier goes live

Published: 12 May 2021

For the first time Māori businesses can identify themselves Māori business on the New Zealand Business Number register.

New Zealand Business Number register(external link) — NZBN

By registering as a Māori business they will benefit from the opportunities provided by the NZBN, doing business with confidence and certainty, connecting and interacting more easily, with more accuracy, saving time and money.  

Government can also start to understand the contribution that Māori businesses make to the economy, make it easier for investment or collaboration and help better measure the effectiveness of government policies for Māori.  Government and non-government agencies will no longer have to rely on surveys to get up-to-date information on Māori economic activity.

It has been difficult to accurately understand the needs and successes of small to medium sized Māori businesses. Ross van der Schyff, General Manager Business & Consumer, MBIE, says “If government wants to successfully support Māori businesses we need better data to better understand them.  This is the first time that we can measure Māori business and economic activity in the government data system.”

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Te Puni Kōkiri have been working alongside the leaders of New Zealand Māori Tourism, Federation of Māori Authorities, Poutama and the Māori Women’s Development Inc. on this initiative.

“The old adage goes “you can't manage what you don't measure”,” says Pania Tyson-Nathan, Chief Executive of NZ Māori Tourism.

“Without good, reliable Māori business data, it is difficult to properly give effect to Māori economic development.  Identifying Māori businesses through the NZ Business Number register offers a simple, yet effective way to collect data about Māori commercial enterprise in Aotearoa New Zealand.  For an organisation like NZ Māori Tourism, having good, reliable Māori business data will enable us to tailor and direct our support for the Māori tourism sector to where it is most needed.”

The New Zealand Business Number

The New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) is a unique identifier for all businesses, big and small, with over 823,000 businesses already registered. It is designed to make it faster and easier to do business by holding core information on a digital register, meaning it doesn’t need to be repeated each time they complete a transaction with government agencies or other businesses.

Māori businesses who already have an NZBN will have a check-box field to complete on their existing digital NZBN registration to indicate if they identify as Maori. If a business does not already have an NZBN, it is easy to apply for one at www.nzbn.govt.nz(external link)

To ensure consistency with other agencies, such as Statistics NZ, businesses will be able to self-identify as a Māori business based on a number of factors, such as ownership and directorship, staff members, philosophy and tikanga, management practices, branding and marketing, tangible assets such as land or fishing rights, or intangible assets like kaupapa Māori or cultural property.

The more Māori businesses register, the more informed policy advice and the better outcomes for Māori will be.

Businesses can update their NZBN or register for the first time via www.nzbn.govt.nz(external link)

MBIE media contact

Email: media@mbie.govt.nz