New Zealand Law Society - Iwi investments extending into more social initiatives

Iwi investments extending into more social initiatives

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Māori organisations are embarking on initiatives to deliver more meaningful outcomes for the majority of their members, Chapman Tripp says in its annual publication Te Ao Māori - Trends and insights 2018.

It says the Māori economy has powered beyond $50 billion and increasingly powerful and influential iwi corporates are extending their investment into social initiatives of direct benefit to their members - leadership development, housing, insurance, and savings schemes.

"The tide is beginning to turn, as large iwi begin to invest more heavily in their people, using a more diverse range of initiatives. Iwi organisations as a collective will soon be delivering a broader range of programmes to a broader range of their membership.

The report says large and medium-sized iwi are focusing on how they can provide tangible benefits to members, and make Treaty settlements relevant to whānau. It says iwi will pave the way for authentic social enterprise leadership.

"Ngāi Tahu and Waikato-Tainui are now heavy-hitters in the iwi financial portfolio space, with a combined asset base close to $3 billion. As their asset holdings continue to grow, they and other iwi are beginning to diversify into social investment opportunities for iwi members."

Looking at likely major trends this year and beyond, Chapman Tripp says more businesses are likely to have dedicated te reo teachers and tikanga consultants to upskill and educate staff on Te Ao Māori.

"Once all settlements are completed, hopefully in the next three-to-five years, the Office of Treaty Settlements will evolve into a ministry focused on honouring existing settlements and collaboration with Māori.

"Iwi and hapū will use technology to engage with a broader base of members, which will increase engagement and resonate with under 30s, and the concept of legal personality will not be limited to the significant environmental tūpuna of those iwi that are yet to settle. Instead, it will be replicated across other environmental areas in New Zealand and could form the basis of contemporary Treaty claims as the Crown grapples with 'ownership' of natural resources."

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