The Implications of a Recession for the Māori Economy

Key Drivers of Future Change28

  1. The current recession and its impacts on Māori need to put in the current as well as future economic context. This has implications for the policy responses to the recession in that they should, as much as possible, leverage off current and future economic settings and trends
  2. Te Puni Kōkiri officials have identified three key drivers that will influence the way that Māori participate in the economy leading to the year 2030: moving to the innovation economy, redistribution of world economic power and climate change and resource pressures. Each of these drivers is outlined in further detail below.

Moving to the innovation economy

  1. Key drivers of change for Māori in the innovation economy include creation of knowledge and innovation; technological advances through new as well as established sectors in which Māori have a share; research and development, as well as education.
  2. The greatest benefit of the innovation economy will accrue to Māori who can access and adopt new technologies. Indeed, having an innovative Māori society may be more important for growth than having a high rate of capital investment. One of the main factors driving the innovation economy will be technological advances. These advances will impact both on the existing sectors in which Māori participate, and the new sectors that have great potential for Māori. Research and development coupled with education will be additional important factors enabling Māori to excel in the innovation economy.


28 For Māori Future Makers, Te Puni Kōkiri research report, October 2007.

Redistribution of world economic power

  1. The global power base is shifting from Europe and America to the new Asian economic powers. This will have a particular impact on Māori through investment and employment opportunities within the new markets driven by the enormous economic growth rates of these new economies, demographics and the rise in importance of mega cities.
  2. The rise of the Asian countries to become economic superpowers will bring some level of uncertainty for Māori, specifically in terms of employment and investment. The rise of immigration from Asia may lead to competition for jobs in local markets. Also, as Asian firms make acquisitions in New Zealand, and potentially in Māori businesses, corporate cultural integration will become an important issue.

Climate change and resource pressures

  1. Environmental pressures are clear drivers of future change both on a global and domestic scale. Key global environmental drivers of economic change with a particular impact on Māori include climate change and fossil fuel depletion. Key domestic drivers with a particular impact on Māori include potential fisheries depletion, and water use and quality.
  2. Climate change impacts will be a challenge for Māori given the economic concentration of Māori businesses in the agriculture and fishing sectors. Adapting to climate change will require the uptake of new technologies to mitigate and withstand potential climate-related shocks. Additionally, Māori producers will increasingly need to position their products as genuinely “clean and green”, in order to keep and grow the share of the export market in these sectors. Conversely, opportunities will arise for Māori in developing and promoting new technologies or moving traditional agricultural sectors into alternative production systems (for example, cropping for bio fuels).