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3 mins
July 22, 2019
Te Ōhanga Māori

Understanding the Māori economy

Te Ōhanga Māori is a well-established and growing sector of the economy of Aotearoa

The Māori economy is not new - having been established in Aotearoa for several centuries.  However, the past 15 years has seen significant research, information, and effort into establishing the concept of the Māori economy within the context of official policy, data, and strategic directions.

BERL has been part of this journey and has developed a body of research to support, inform and build the knowledge base on the Māori economy at a national and regional level, as well as its interactions with the economy of Aotearoa.

BERL completed the Asset Base, Income, Expenditure and GDP of the 2010 Māori Economy report published in 2012.  This report estimated the size of the Māori Economy and illustrated the relationships between the Māori economy and the wider New Zealand economy.  

In 2015, BERL updated and expanded the Māori economy report and published the Māori Economy Report 2013. The $42.6 billion asset base from this report is a widely quoted figure.

BERL has provided a national perspective, on a range of Māori economy topics, such as in 2014 we assessed and reported on the overall contribution of the Wānanga sector. Also, in partnership with Ngāi Tahu we explored the dimensions of inequity for Māori in education and income and published a report called Change Agenda: Income equity for Māori in 2018.

At a regional level we have been part of various strategies and research projects focused on understanding and developing the Māori economy.


BERL worked with Waikato-Tainui, WMB (Waikato Means Business) and Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK) to develop a Short-term Action Plan and Long-term Economic Agenda for Māori in the Waikato Region that was published in 2018.

We also completed a report in 2014, Māori Economy in the Waikato Region. This report was developed in a collaborative effort between the Waikato Regional Council, the Federation of Māori Authorities, and Te Puni Kōkiri. The report explores opportunities and challenges to leveraging the $1.4 billion Māori economy in Waikato, and maximising the region’s growth potential.

Te Taitokerau

Te Taitokerau Iwi Chief Executives’ Consortium engaged BERL in 2015 to support them to develop a Māori led economic development strategy. He Tangata, He Whenua, He Oranga focused on five high level strategic interventions, intended to stimulate the necessary shift in pathology required to create an environment that reinforces Māori prosperity and wellness in Te Taitokerau.

Te Tau Ihu

In 2016 we provided a situation analysis and explored scenarios to inform investment strategies to 2050 for iwi across Te Tau Ihu.

Greater Wellington Region

BERL was commissioned by the Greater Wellington Regional Council to provide a holistic view of the Māori Economy in the Greater Wellington Region. This report, Māori economy in the Greater Wellington Region, provided a collection of quantitative data and empirical evidence about the nature and the state of the Māori economic contribution to the Greater Wellington Region.


Te Ripoata Ohanga Māori mō Te Waiariki: Report on the Māori Asset Base in the Waiariki Economy – An Economic Growth Strategy for a Sustainable Future. This report was prepared for the Bay of Plenty Māori Economic Development Reference Group. The research objectives were to demonstrate the significance and role of Māori in influencing economic change in the Waiariki rohe and to inform future Māori economic development plans that would enable Māori self-determination and influence beyond the Waiariki rohe.