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Future work – expanding the definition of Māori businesses

Our goal

The Tatauranga Umanga Māori project is one of several initiatives to address gaps in information for Māori. Through this project we’ll further ‘unleash’ the power of existing data that relates to the Māori economy – to help inform decision-making that aligns with Māori aspirations.

The task of moving from identifying Māori authorities to identifying Māori businesses is a challenging one. As recognised in chapter 7, the tax-based definition used to identify Māori authorities provides incomplete coverage of Māori business. We have therefore begun working with potential partners who can help us identify Māori businesses (see chapter 5).

Information-sharing relationships

Crucial to achieving our goal is working with partners that can identify Māori businesses and who are willing to share information with us (eg other government agencies and Māori organisations). Their contributions will help us complete the coverage for Māori authorities towards the wider Māori businesses, and to progress further stages of this project.

Once established, these new information sources will need to be regularly updated and maintained. We can best achieve this using automated processes, which further emphasises the importance of our long-term partner relationships.

Partners who have shared administrative datasets with us and have therefore contributed to developing the Tatauranga Umanga Māori reports are:

  • The Federation of Māori Authorities
  • Te Puni Kōkiri
  • Land Information New Zealand 
  • The Ministry of Health
  • The Charities Commission
  • The Office of Treaty Settlements.

We will continue to identify other potential partners who could hold administrative datasets that may provide potential gains in the identifying Māori businesses.

Gaining lists of Māori authorities and their support businesses directly from partners will increase the number of Māori businesses we can identify and develop information for. For example, the benefit the Tatauranga Umanga Māori project has gained from the Federation of Māori Authorities sharing its members’ list has been invaluable, and has underpinned our earlier reports.

Development of a Māori business self-identification survey question

To extend our coverage to Māori businesses, we are developing a question for our Business Operations Survey (BOS) that allows Māori businesses to self-identify. We expect to include this question in BOS from 2015.

Our objective is to expand the use of the self-identification question across the business statistics sector – to make Māori business identification a part of New Zealand business statistics culture. This self-identification question will provide the data we require to identify Māori business – as an administrative data source that updates regularly. The question will also provide valuable information about the views of self-identifying Māori businesses on their definition of a Māori business. We hope to share this information in future reports, and to complete our definitions of Māori business and Māori-in-business as a result.

The potential of linked data for Māori businesses

We are also investigating the value we can gain from linking our existing information sources. The Māori labour cost information in section 5 is an example of what we can achieve when we refocus our approach for the benefit of Māori business users. By further linking existing and shared data we hope to produce this type of information for Māori business rather than simply for Māori in the wider economy.

Future reporting approach

Understanding the methodology and quality associated with additional partner information sources is important to both Statistics NZ and users of the data, to ensure comparable statistics and consistent time series. As the definition of Māori businesses expands from Māori authorities, it may do so in an uneven way across the economy, or even geographically, as we incorporate different sources into the definition. We will update our methodology and supporting notes as the definition evolves.

Another recent development with the potential to refocus the Māori business statistics that Tatauranga Umanga Māori produces is He Arotahi Tatauranga – the Māori Statistical Framework. This tool is designed to help users of our statistics learn more about Māori information needs. He Arotahi Tatauranga will also help us explore and discover ways to think about, gather, organise, connect, and make sense of information relevant to Māori development and well-being. We recognise that Māori economic development is interwoven with social, environmental, and cultural development and therefore that we need to consider its wider context within te ao Māori (the Māori world). Making use of He Arotahi Tatauranga will enable that process.

Seeking feedback

We recognise the importance of the many partner relationships that have assisted us with the important work Tatauranga Umanga Māori represents. At the heart of this is the invaluable feedback we receive from our partners and customers. We continue to seek and be open to your feedback on this and future reports.

Please send your comments to with Tatauranga Umanga Māori in the subject line.

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