Optimising the Māori in Māori Economic Development – How Māori values inform investment decisions for collective assets

Project commenced:

Some economists argue for diversity in the way collective resources are managed rather than an unquestioning faith in leaving things to the market. We support this thinking and looked at how ethics and Māori knowledge can be used equally alongside economics in managing collective Māori assets.

We argue that simple measures of collective well-being used alongside mainstream economics are robust enough to help us make collective decisions. Our team developed a Māori knowledge and ethics based decision-making framework for collective assets. This framework is being tested and refined using three case studies with our iwi/hapū partners.

Objectives

  • Develop an interface between Māori values and financial measures that will form the basis of a new economic decision-making framework for collective assets,
  • Work with the commercial arms of iwi/hapū to help integrate indigenous corporate responsibility into a new collective decision-making framework, and
  • Apply Māori values in investment decisions for collective assets.

A step-by-step process was used to discuss and evaluate investment scenarios utilising NZFARM and Māori cultural values. The tikanga Māori decision framework and its components is an example of a Māori evaluation process. Unique to this framework is the integration of Māori concepts (e.g. kaitiakitanga, whakatipu rawa, and manaakitanga) within a Māori collective asset management paradigm. There is potential to refine this framework and its components and further develop it for use by other iwi/hapū throughout Aotearoa. Our tikanga Māori decision framework can help managers of collective assets make progress towards outcomes that reflect equality of distribution, and mitigate or improve the social and environmental domains that are the receptors of the externalities created by our economic activities. Successful uptake of the framework would require a paradigm shift away from a business as usual approach. The challenge for Māori resource management is to use this type of framework to assess new investment opportunities alongside traditional business analyses such as cost-benefit or return on equity.

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