Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre secures grant to study Māori enterprise

Dr Jason Mika from Massey University's Te Au Rangahau (Māori Business and Leadership Centre) will co-colead the research.

Massey Business School researchers will study the financial capability of Māori enterprises, with the help of a $30,000 grant. The grant was awarded to the Westpac Massey Fin-Ed (Financial Education and Research) Centre by the SkyCity Auckland Community Trust.

Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre director Dr Pushpa Wood ONZM and Te Au Rangahau (Māori Business and Leadership Centre) co-director Dr Jason Paul Mika will lead the research.

“The research project will measure the financial capability of Māori entrepreneurs and their ability to start and run Māori enterprises,” says Dr Mika. The researchers are hoping to talk to around 30 Māori entrepreneurs, including rangatahi (youth), pakeke (adults), kaumātua (elders) and whānau (families) in Auckland and Northland, using interviews and focus groups.

“We want to understand how culture, money and wealth play out in the lives and thinking of Māori entrepreneurs,” Dr Wood says. “We want to speak to those new to business, and those who have been in business for some time so we can better understand how to strengthen the financial capability of Māori entrepreneurs.”

Dr Pushpa Wood, director of the Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre.

Strengthening communities thorugh Māori enterprise

The project’s name ‘Te manu ka rere’ is taken from the oft-quoted Māori saying “Ma te huruhuru te manu ka rere”, which means that, adorned with feathers, the bird is able to fly.

“We suspect that for some, financial capability – the ability to manage money and wealth – is not a problem, but for others it might be,” Dr Mika says.

“Ultimately, we want whānau to develop their financial capability and entrepreneurial skills to be successful in business and contribute to the collective wellbeing of Māori and the wider community.”

Fonteyn Moses-Te Kani, Westpac’s head of Māori and iwi strategic relationships, says Westpac has a long history of working with Māori and iwi businesses and communities, and is keen to increase its presence in this growing market. 

“We hope this research will show how Westpac and other financial institutions can best help our Māori and iwi customers achieve their business objectives.”

SkyCity Auckland Community Trust chairman John Bongard says the trust is pleased to be contributing to the growth of financial capability and employment opportunities in Auckland and Northland. 

“The trust is proud to be helping to support families to thrive and communities to prosper through grants like this for the Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre, he says.

“The research this funding is supporting will help identify actions to strengthen the financial capability and resilience of Māori entrepreneurs. This, in turn, will contribute to whānau, hapū, iwi and community economic prosperity and wealth, and the trust’s grant is our way of supporting this vision and these communities.” 

Māori entrepreneurs interested in participating in the research should contact Dr Pushpa Wood at P.Wood@massey.ac.nz or Dr Jason Mika at J.P.Mika@massey.ac.nz.

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