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Improved access to capital for Māori

What Te Pūtea Matua is doing to address primary challenges inhibiting the Māori economy.

Kimihia te mea ngaro - Maori access to capitalIn 2021 we released ‘Te Ōhanga Māori - Māori Economy Report 2018’ in partnership with Business and Economic Research Limited. The report showed the Māori economy is an integral part of New Zealand’s economy, valued at $69 billion in 2019. It is comprised of businesses across a wide range of industries and showed Māori represent an increasing proportion of New Zealand’s population, and a continually growing part of the workforce. Since 2013, the Māori population in New Zealand has grown by 30 percent, while the number of Māori in employment increased by 47 percent.

Read Te Ōhanga Māori – The Māori Economy 2018 (PDF 17.4 MB)

However, the report also identified several challenges, with access to capital highlighted as one of the primary challenges inhibiting the Māori economy. The report and supplementary reports from the Productivity Commission found Māori customers and entities developing their businesses tend to self-report lower rates of capital accessibility than non-Māori.

What Te Pūtea Matua is doing and why?

This is our reason behind launching a work programme to better understand Māori access to capital in the New Zealand economy.

Kimihia te mea ngaro – Māori access to capital

The ability to realise the full economic potential of Māori entities has benefits for the growth and productivity of New Zealand’s economy, yet the effectiveness of capital allocation to Māori across the entire financial system is not well understood.

While the initial focus was on Māori small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the scope was widened to include other types of Māori firms within the Māori economy. These include Iwi, Post Settlement Governance Entities (PSGEs), Māori authorities, collectives, asset holding entities and SMEs. Collectively, these firms who are seeking capital are referred to as ‘seekers’. The breadth of representation from within the seeker community reflects the complexity and scale of the challenges across the entire financial system.

Initial research designed to capture a snapshot of the issues landscape was completed. It highlighted a dearth of quantitative data, while qualitative interviews suggested a deeper exploration was warranted to better understand Māori access to capital in the New Zealand economy. It also provided the opportunity to review the efficiency and effectiveness of capital allocation across the entire financial system.

The next step in this research was to further develop the quantitative assessment of Māori access to capital. It assessed whether any issues arising in capital access either constituted a potential market failure or gaps in the New Zealand financial system.

This assessment will guide policy and regulatory interventions, if and where necessary.The intention is for this work to be an all-of-system effort, involving both the public and private sectors.

The Reserve Bank is mandated to promote the maintenance of a sound and efficient financial system, with the ultimate goal of supporting the wellbeing and prosperity of all New Zealanders. An efficient, effective, and stable financial system is one where capital is allocated on the basis of risk and return, one in which there is equitable access to capital for all firms, including Māori firms.

The case to better understand the barriers for Māori to access capital and to examine the effectiveness of capital allocation across the system has resonated strongly with Māori firms engaged in this kaupapa. The opportunity to be heard after many years is a significant milestone.

This piece of work provides the platform to understand a set of experiences and perspectives about the challenges, as a catalyst for actions from participants within the system with a shared intent to move towards more equitable access to capital for Māori.

Next steps

In the first phase of this project, we undertook a series of discussions with both Māori seekers, banks and NBDTs to explore the barriers, potential solutions, challenges and opportunities that exist in Māori entities accessing capital. This work was focussed on capturing the perspectives of those we met with and to identify some key themes from these discussions.

Following the engagements, we prepared preliminary findings that captured what was heard and identified the key themes. These themes were:

  • capability-building
  • mindset
  • partnering/value alignment
  • leadership
  • information, and
  • capital allocation.

Both seekers and providers acknowledged the need for innovative thinking and mobilising the collective efforts of all to develop solutions.

After the first phase of engagements, we held a series of solutions wānanga (open discussion) with seekers to dive deeper into some of the potential solutions. These wānanga were split into three distinct sessions, reflecting the difference in size and scale of seeker activities and experiences in accessing capital.These were:

  • Scaling up and transforming the system
  • Whenua and Māori collectives, and
  • Māori small and medium-sized enterprises.

During these three wānanga the key themes from the preliminary findings were confirmed and ranked, with some possible solutions identified. The participation of some potential partner agencies provided an opportunity for them to gain first-hand insights of the issues and potential solutions.

Post-wānanga we reflected what we heard to the seekers and embarked on the process to identify champions willing assist with further refinement of the solutions. The next phase was to consolidate the solutions and feedback and to start the process of report writing.

We explored how system participants might be involved and support the programme and contribute to the report. We continued engaging widely to reiterate the role and purpose of Te Pūtea Matua, staking the pillars in the ground in relation to how these fit into our mandate.

In late June 2022, the final recommendations report will be open to public consultation. Please refer to this page for all necessary information on how to contribute.


Te Ohānga Māori report launch – January 2021

Working group established – April 2021

A2K Roadshow – July to October 2021

Preliminary findings – December 2021

Wānanga/workshops – January to March 2022

Final report to Minister of Finance – end of May 2022

Public release – end of June 2022

Submissions welcome on report – June 2022

Submissions close end of August 2022