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New taskforce on Maori access to industry and employment takes shape

The New Zealand Maori Council has today launched a new national taskforce that will seek to improve the number of Maori in high skills jobs and professions, increase Maori small business ownership, access to industry and promote more younger Maori to move into a form of higher education. The taskforce will be Chaired by former Head of the world’s oldest, and one of the largest, employment companies Drake International, Matthew Tukaki (Ngai Te Rangi) who is also a member of Council’s National Executive. Tukaki is also the founder of the global entrepreneurs movement known as EntreHub and founder of the online news channel for small business, EHNSB NewsNow.

“The Maori economy is estimated to be worth more than $42 billion per annum but behind this large number lies the brutal reality that Maori are still ranked as the largest population group within the unemployment numbers, are more likely to be participants in the unskilled or lower skilled parts of the labor market and are less likely to start up a small business. Further than that many Maori are prohibited from accessing lucrative government and corporate contracts because their business models do not fit the norm or they are locked out based on their own backgrounds. They struggle to be able to grow their organisation or access the capital needed to fund expansion. Running alongside this are the challenges faced through social inequity. Maori are more likely to be incarcerated, have the highest suicide rate per head of population in the western world, more likely to fail at school or going onto a form of higher education. In many respects you cannot separate the challenges bought about through social data and determinants and our economic circumstances.” Tukaki said

“With all of the challenges and barriers facing our people the New Zealand Maori Council has decided it is long past time to seek out new ways and means of doing things, new ideas and solutions. If what we were doing was the right way of doing things then there would be no need for a conversation – but a conversation isn’t just needed, solutions need to be found.” Tukaki said

Tukaki has said that the taskforce will act like a thinktank, a ways and means to develop new ideas and solutions and also try and deal with some of the pre-cursor barriers that cause social determinants to rise. Tukaki has also said there has been significant interest in membership and is encouraging business, industry and Government to get on board.

Some of the issue and challenge areas the new taskforce will look at include:


  • New ways and means of further reducing long term unemployment amongst Maori

  • Increasing the number of Maori moving into high skilled jobs and industries

  • Increasing the number of Maori who are entering into a form of higher education

  • Looking at ways and means of job and industry creation in complex, high need regional centers

Business and industry

  • Increasing the number of small businesses that are owned, operated and managed by Maori

  • Looking at better access through Government procurement

  • Increasing access to finance for expansion

  • Increasing the rates of financial literacy amongst Maori small business owners

Members of the taskforce include:

  • Matthew Tukaki, Chair of Entrehub & NewsNow, Sustain Group, former Head of Drake International, Director of Business development of Syntropy Systems, former Head of Asia for MXL Group, former Chair of Deakin University CSaRO

  • Brent Reihana, Founder and head of the Maori Business Network

  • Orissa Plimmer, Senior Executive at Engage Partners and Maori employment expert in the tech industry

  • Kane Robinson, former General Manager of PowerLan systems, Managing Partner of Dattach Samsung SDS

  • Andrew Sharp, CEO of BOBUX and member of the World Class New Zealand Network

  • Mere Balzer, former CEO of Te Rūnanga Ō Kirikiriroa

  • Diane Tuari, CEO of Mahia Group and member of the National Maori Authority (Hauraki Wiremu Puriri, New Zealand Maori Council National Executive

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