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Farming first for Māori authorities

Māori connection to the land is evident in the industries Māori authorities are involved in. As at February 2013, more than two-thirds of Māori authorities were represented in the rental, hiring, and real estate services, and the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries.

Māori authorities in the rental, hiring, and real estate services industry were mostly represented in the non-residential property operator classification, which includes rental or leasing of agricultural land and other commercial property. Māori authorities were also strongly represented in sheep and beef cattle farming, and in dairy cattle farming.

Figure 1 shows that the concentration of Māori authorities in these industries is more marked than that for all New Zealand businesses.

Figure 1
Graph, Distribution of businesses by industry, as at February 2013.

Locations of businesses owned by Māori authorities mainly in North Island

The regional distribution of business locations owned by Māori authorities is quite different from the national picture. Almost half of the locations are in the Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions, and almost 90 percent are in the North Island. This reflects the distribution of iwi throughout New Zealand – concentrated in the central North Island, with far fewer in the south.

The distribution of Māori authorities in these more rural areas is a marked contrast to Auckland’s predominance in the distribution of all New Zealand businesses. Only 1 in 20 business locations owned by Māori authorities were in Auckland, compared with almost 1 in 3 for all businesses.

Figure 2
Graph, Distribution of business locations by region, as at February 2013.  

Labour market dynamics

This difference in distribution between Māori authorities and the economy as a whole is also evident in the location of filled jobs. By region, most jobs were located in the Waikato, South Island2, Bay of Plenty, and Auckland in the March 2013 quarter. For all New Zealand businesses, Auckland and the South Island had the majority of all filled jobs.

These labour market measures are based on Linked Employer-Employee Data (LEED).

The number of filled jobs in Māori authorities reached 7,920 for the March 2013 quarter.

Figure 3
Graph, Distribution of jobs by region, as at March 2013.

By industry, most filled jobs in Māori authorities for the March 2013 quarter were in education and training; agriculture, forestry, and fishing; health care and social assistance; and manufacturing. The concentration of jobs in these industries highlights the values of Māori authorities, which often consider people and environment alongside profit.

For total New Zealand businesses, the numbers of filled jobs are largest in the health care and social assistance; manufacturing; and retail trade industries.

Many Māori authorities include holding companies, which do not require employees.

Figure 4
Graph, Distribution of jobs by selected industry, as at March 2013.

The job turnover rate shows the dynamic nature of the labour market. The job turnover rate for Māori authorities has been higher than for total New Zealand businesses over the past two years (March 2011 to March 2013). This result reflects Māori authorities having a higher proportion of jobs in seasonal industries – such as agriculture, forestry, and fishing, and education and training – which tend to have higher job turnover rates.

Figure 5
Graph, Job turnover, quarterly, March 2011 to March 2013.

Māori authorities spend more on labour

Māori authorities spend a larger proportion (21 percent) on salaries and wages for their employees than all industries3 combined (18 percent).

The amount Māori authorities spent on salaries and wages increased by 8.8 percent in the 2012 financial year, compared with a 4.5 percent increase for all industries.

Figure 6
Graph, Business expenses, 2012 financial year.  

Māori authorities hold more fixed assets

Māori authorities tend to hold a higher proportion of fixed tangible assets than other businesses. Fixed tangible assets account for 49 percent of Māori authorities’ total assets, compared with 28 percent for all industries. A fixed tangible asset is a physical good (such as land and machinery) that a company holds to help it earn profit.

This demonstrates the commitment of Māori authorities to hold assets for future generations. The preference for physical goods may also indicate Māori authorities’ sense of the value of kaitiakitanga, or guardianship of resources.

In comparison, all New Zealand businesses are more likely to hold other long-term assets (non-physical goods).

Figure 7
Graph, Business assets, 2012 financial year.

Māori authorities hold more equity

Māori authorities prefer to use shareholder funds or owners’ equity to finance their business activities. Shareholder funds or owners’ equity account for 70 percent of Māori authorities’ total equity and liabilities. This is compared with 37 percent for all industries, which tend to use a more equal distribution of finance sources between shareholder funds or owners’ equity, and current and non-current liabilities.

Figure 8
Graph, Equity and liabilities, 2012 financial year.

Find more information on the quality and methodology of Annual Enterprise Survey estimates for Māori authorities.

Māori authorities have a future focus

Commercial businesses owned by Māori authorities have a strong focus on the future, with 96 percent reporting having a clear vision or mission statement. This may be indicative of the unique way in which Māori authorities include not only economic, but spiritual, cultural, and social goals in their mission statements. In comparison, 58 percent of all New Zealand firms report having a clear vision for the future.

Māori authorities also have an eye to the future when it comes to planning, reflecting their values of sustainability and provision for the future. All Māori authority-owned businesses have a business plan, compared with 89 percent of total New Zealand businesses. This carries through to longer-term planning: three-quarters of Māori authorities plan for more than two years, compared with less than one-quarter of all New Zealand businesses.

More Māori authorities report investing in expansion (around 36 percent in 2013) compared with all New Zealand businesses (28 percent). Investment in expansion can be important in growing a business, and can involve introducing new or improved goods or services, purchasing land, buildings, or equipment, or entering new markets.

Research and development (R&D) is another area of interest for Māori authorities, with 27 Māori authorities responding to the 2012 R&D survey. While Māori authorities are a small proportion of R&D organisations in New Zealand, 1 in 3 carried out some form of R&D between 2011 and 2012. The total expenditure on this activity was just over $2.5 million, through a combination of business and government funding.

If they had more resources, the most common activity these businesses would spend more time and money on was training existing staff.

Kaimoana and dairy top exports for Māori authorities

Goods exported by Māori authority-owned businesses for the year ended March 2014 were worth $543 million (1.1 percent of total goods exports). These exports were up from $438 million in the March 2013 year and $391 million in the March 2012 year.

Seafood was the largest contributor, valued at $268 million (20 percent of total seafood exports) for the March 2014 year. Dairy, and meat and fish preparations were the two next-largest commodities.

China was the leading destination for Māori authority goods, which were worth $274 million (2.4 percent of total goods exports to China) for the March 2014 year. The value was up 67 percent compared with the March 2013 year, and 147 percent compared with the March 2012 year. The next-largest export destinations were Australia, the United States, and Japan.

Goods imports were worth $46 million in the March 2014 year, or 0.1 percent of total goods imports. This changed little compared with the March 2013 year, but was down 30 percent from the March 2012 year. The largest imported commodity by value was meat and fish preparations, followed by mechanical machinery and equipment. The largest value of imports came from the United States.

Figure 9
Graph, Maori authorities' trade in goods, year ended March, 2011 to 2014.

2. South Island is composed of Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago, and Southland regions.
3. The term ‘all industries’ as used in this report is subject to some exclusions. See
Technical notes about the AES.

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