Kia eke te ahumahi Māori – Māori workforce and industry success

All RWPs identify Māori as a priority population group for their region and iwi/hapū as partners in workforce and skills development

One third of the actions within the RWPs feature an explicit te ao Māori perspective. There is an emphasis on the importance of a te ao Māori/te Tiriti lens for workforce planning, whether this be the development of a Tai Tokerau mātauranga Māori intervention logic, grounded in He Whakaputanga; a commitment to co-design; advocating for training programmes that are grounded in Te Tiriti; or working with iwi and hapū to develop a rohe model. This aligns with the Māori Employment Action Plan the Crown–Māori Economic Growth Partnership, He kai kei aku ringa.

Te ao Māori RWP actions respond both to regional iwi/hapū/Māori business, employment and skills aspirations, as well as inequity in current employment and outcomes for Māori. Efforts to address this typically take the form of actions to engage, coordinate and facilitate regional actors. Although, this groundwork is more about ensuring that whānau get into decent mahi, empowering Māori enterprise and future leaders has a high value, especially when it comes to the future of the labour market.

As discussed in more detail in the introductory section, Te Rōpū Whaiti has identified 4 priority areas: Mā te Māori, mō te Māori, rangatahi, addressing funding coordination failures, and correcting disparities. This section highlights alignment with central government agency work in these areas.

This aligns with broader Government priorities for Māori

Mā te Māori, mō te Māori – For Māori, by Māori

Government agencies must consider their role in supporting the Crown to fulfil its obligations as a Treaty Partner. Central government agencies’ vision for Māori employment is that Māori exercise rangatiratanga to create intergenerational wellbeing through work. Central government agencies need to work with regions to understand how to bridge the gap between national-level strategies, like those described below, and regional actions.

MBIE’s Māori Economic Development Advisory Board oversees the Crown–Māori Economic Growth Partnership, He kai kei aku ringa (HKKAR). The strategy provides an organising framework to drive an all-of-government focus on achieving positive economic outcomes for Māori, with an overarching goal to increase Māori median income. HKKAR is in the process of being refreshed.

Te Mahere Whai Mahi Māori, the Māori Employment Action Plan, identifies steps to achieve this vision by removing barriers and creating opportunities to improve Māori employment outcomes. Many RSLG members and co-chairs were involved in the consultation and drafting of this plan. Sustainable employment and quality work are an important contributor to individual and whānau waiora and socioeconomic outcomes.

All agencies involved in Te Mahere Whai Mahi Māori have a role to play in the development, implementation, monitoring and reporting on the action plan. RSLGs play an integral role by encouraging regions to adopt mā te Māori, mō te Māori approaches to contribute to a system that is mana-enhancing for iwi/hapū and that improves outcomes.

He kai kei aku ringa: Strategy and action plan

Te Mahere Whai Mahi Māori employment action plan [PDF, 4 MB]


Several RWPs refer to the importance of ensuring Māoritanga be acknowledged in the workforce and in training for rangatahi. A snapshot of some key trends particularly relevant to rangatahi entering the workforce can be found in the MBIE and MSD-sponsored Auckland Co-Design Lab report, The Attitude Gap Challenge. This paper provides rangatahi and employer perspectives and insights on the transition from education into the workforce. Recent Te Pūkenga research also provides fresh insight into the aspirations and barriers that impact Māori ākonga (learners’) experience on their learning journey.

MoE has a range of programmes under the cross-agency strategies for the education sector, the Ka Hikitia Māori education strategy and Tau Mai Te Reo Māori Language in Education Strategy. The sister strategies contribute to Māori enjoying and achieving education success as Māori, as they develop the skills to participate in te ao Māori, Aotearoa and the wider world.

Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK) is implementing a time-limited (2-year) $21.5m package of rangatahi-focused initiatives in 2022/23 and 2023/24, investing in a range of innovative community/whānau-led programmes to support rangatahi wellbeing and re-engage at-risk young Māori. Programmes will be responsive to local/regional needs and opportunities and may – as appropriate – draw on insights and data from the RWPs and through coordinated links with the RSLGs.

Te Kura Huanui, produced by the Education Review Office and released in 2021, shows that Māori going through Kōhanga and Kura Kaupapa excel because they are immersed in their culture. Communities that create supportive environments where learning is embedded in te ao Māori are critical to the success of Māori. By supporting Māori to learn as Māori, they become repositories of knowledge. RSLGs can continue to draw alignment with the success of Māori immersed in their culture and transpose that into workforce development, training and employment.

Attitude Gap Challenge(external link) — The Auckland Co-Design Lab

Ka Hikitia(external link) — Ministry of Education

Tau Mai Te Reo(external link) — Ministry of Education

Te Kura Huanui(external link) — Education Review Office

Addressing funding coordination failures

The All of Government Progressive Procurement Policy managed by MBIE and TPK aims to increase supplier diversity in government procurement, effect change in government procurement processes and behaviour, and be used as a lever to improve economic outcomes for Māori. As part of the Te Mahere Whai Mahi Māori, TPK is engaging with agencies to implement social procurement practices and prototyping social procurement approaches to reduce barriers for Māori businesses to engage in government procurement processes. The project is supporting a wide range of Māori owned businesses in a range of sectors and industries across the motu. Regional insights can support agencies to enable the expansion of effective local initiatives, including how to support future Māori entrepreneurs and leaders.

All of Government Progressive Procurement Policy(external link) — Te Puni Kōkiri

Correcting disparities

When working with iwi, hapū and whānau Māori, RSLGs need to strive for equity while also providing opportunities for Māori enterprise to thrive. Tackling longstanding issues (experienced by generations of whānau) while preparing for the future is a unique characteristic of Te Ōhanga Māori (the Māori economy), which, in addition to traditional economic players, also includes iwi/hapū, whose views are grounded in whakapapa, whenua and whānau. However, while acknowledging these issues, the Māori economy has significant strengths that can be built from to achieve better employment and broader wellbeing outcomes.

Correcting disparities fits within Te Ōhanga Māori, which is a novel and complicated space. The RSLG co-governance model provides the right structure and mode of operation, but the nature of the issues demand commitment and perseverance over the long-term.

TPK’s 2020 report on the size and scale of the Māori economy, Te Matapaeroa, builds on the understanding of the scale and makeup of the Māori economy to help identify the untapped opportunities and needs. It reports on the number and breadth of Māori-owned businesses. The updated report (released in 2022) identifies encouraging trends among wāhine Māori-owned businesses, and the wider contribution made by many Māori-owned businesses. Te Matapaeroa is now accompanied by a data visualisation tool to generate insights relevant to each region. It complements the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s earlier mapping of the Māori economy in the report Te Ōhanga Māori, released in 2020, which examines the labour market in the context of the broader Māori asset base.

Te Matapaeroa 2020(external link) — Te Puni Kōkiri

Te Ohanga Maori – The Maori Economy 2018(external link) — Reserve Bank of New Zealand