Understanding the exposure of climate hazards to Māori-owned businesses

This insights report highlights regions and sectors that will be particularly exposed now and, in the future, and the impacts on Māori-owned businesses

We are pleased to deliver our insights report on understanding the exposure of climate hazards on Māori-owned businesses. It highlights regions and sectors that will be particularly exposed now and, in the future, (mid-century, 2031-2050). It explores in more detail the top three sectors where most Māori-owned businesses operate. This study is essential for ensuring Māori businesses are resilient and viable. It forms part of a broader series of studies understanding the contribution of Māori businesses to the New Zealand economy, alongside Te Matapaeroa reports.

Māori-owned businesses play a pivotal role in key sectors, contributing significantly to the economy. Māori-owned businesses are about 60% regional, therefore, are an essential part of regional economies. Sector and regional analyses highlight vulnerabilities and opportunities for business resilience.

This is the second report we have produced using NIWA data and the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). The first of which was our report Understanding climate hazards for hapori Māori released in late December 2023.

The findings from this study, when considered alongside other factors that drive business composition and performance in an area or region - like how many people live there, what the land is like, how easy it is to get to infrastructure, what resources are available, and how much businesses rely on local suppliers – could provide some insight into potential options for businesses that may be forced to exit or transform in the face of a changing climate.

Key Findings

  • Industry concentration: Māori-owned businesses are concentrated in key sectors such as Construction, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services, with 56% of Māori-owned businesses being in these sectors.
  • Regional variances: The concentration of types of Māori-owned businesses varies across regions, with Auckland dominating Construction. Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing has a strong presence in regions with abundant agricultural land/whenua land such as Taranaki/Whānganui/West Coast (32%), Otago/Southland (31%), Northland (29%), Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay (27%), and Waikato (26%).
  • Climate hazard vulnerability: Māori-owned businesses, particularly in Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, are notably vulnerable to climate hazards, with extreme rainfall and wet spells posing significant risks.
  • Regional exposure: Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay, Northland, and Tasman/Nelson/Marlborough are identified as regions with the highest exposure of Māori-owned businesses to various climate hazards.
  • Economic contribution: Māori-owned businesses paid $1.32 billion in wages and generated $10.85 billion in sales in 2020.

Key Statistical Highlights

Understanding Māori-owned Businesses Highlights
  • Māori-owned businesses are concentrated in Construction, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services sectors. Over half (56%) of Māori-owned businesses operate in these top three industries, with construction being the majority, at 24%.
  • Over a quarter (28%) of Māori-owned construction businesses are in Auckland.
  • Māori owned businesses are highly represented in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sectors in regions like Taranaki/Whanganui/West Coast (32%) and Otago/Southland (31%).
  • Auckland has the highest number of Māori-owned businesses in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (1,596), while Wellington has the highest percentage (25%) of Māori-owned businesses in this industry.
  • Most Māori businesses are in Auckland (7,551), followed by Waikato (4,062) and Bay of Plenty (3,093).
  • The top three sectors where Māori-owned business operate employ over half (54%) of the workforce in Māori-owned businesses.
  • Māori-owned businesses tend to be smaller than the overall economy, employing an average of 2.76 workers, with higher numbers in Accommodation and Food Service, Retail Trade, and Manufacturing.
  • Māori-owned businesses paid $1.32 billion in wages and generated $10.85 billion sales to the NZ economy in 2020.
Climate Hazards Highlights
  • Māori-owned businesses face various climate hazards, with exposure levels differing among industries and regions.
  • Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing are most exposed to flooding, followed by Construction and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services.
  • Accommodation and Food Services, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, and Wholesale Trade are most exposed to coastal inundation.
  • Extreme hot days will affect 17% of Māori-owned businesses in the future, with Construction being most exposed in terms of absolute numbers.
  • Heatwaves will affect 68% of Māori businesses in the future, with significant impacts in Northland and Auckland.
  • Drought exposure is expected to rise to 27% in the future, particularly affecting Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay and Canterbury.
  • Extreme rainfall currently affects 14% of businesses, with Northland being most at risk.
  • Wet spell days are anticipated to decrease, but Taranaki/Whanganui/West Coast will remain most exposed.
Regional Highlights
  • Every region currently experiences flooding, with Māori-owned businesses in Northland facing the most exposure.
  • In the future, Māori-owned businesses in Northland, the Bay of Plenty, and Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay will be most affected by rising sea levels.
  • Canterbury is projected to have the highest exposure to extreme hot days in the future among Māori-owned businesses, followed by Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay.
  • All regions will see more heatwaves in the future, especially Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay, Northland, Auckland, and Waikato, with exposure ranging from 92% to 99%.
  • Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay and Tasman/Nelson/Marlborough will have the highest future exposure to drought, affecting 79% of Māori-owned businesses.
  • Māori-owned businesses in Bay of Plenty and Northland will experience the most extreme rainfall in the future.
  • Taranaki/Whanganui/West Coast are projected to have the highest exposure to wet spells among Māori-owned businesses in the future.