Building a Māori economic development strategy for the Wellington region

The challenges and opportunities of developing a Māori economic development strategy for the Wellington region were explored at a special Dean’s Series talk hosted by Victoria Business School (VBS) in August.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Victoria Business School Professor Ian Williamson introduces the panelists at the Dean's Series discussion.

One of the key priorities for VBS is supporting Māori and Pasifika economic development. This is also an important area for the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) who are focussed on building a Māori economic development strategy for the Wellington region.

The Dean Series talk saw invited panellists—Te Puritanga Jefferies, Senior Māori Economic Development Advisor at Greater Wellington Regional Council; Tui Te Hau, Director – Public Engagement at the National Library of New Zealand; Pera Barrett, founder of the Wellington Shoebox Christmas project; and Kara Puketapu-Dentice, trustee of Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o Te Ika and co-founder of Te Tech Tribe—reflect on this topic.

Throughout the course of the discussion several key ideas were identified as being able to support Māori economic development including broader investment approaches beyond Treaty settlements, mentorship programmes, encouraging an increased tolerance for risk and failure, encouraging investment from a wide variety of groups (not just government), supporting arts and cultural industries, removing entry barriers, and developing infrastructure, models, and conditions that work to support Māori economic development broadly.

The talk was attended by a number of influential people from the Wellington region, including Adrian Orr, Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Victoria Business School Professor Ian Williamson chaired the talk and says it was a privilege to be able to host such an insightful discussion with new emerging Maori leaders from the region.

“Supporting Māori and Pasifika economic development in the Wellington region and beyond is an important area of focus for VBS as we increase the number of Māori and Pasifika students, staff, academic research, events, and learning opportunities at the business school,” says Professor Williamson.

“I want to thank each of the panellists for their valuable insights. I’m looking forward to hosting more Dean’s Series talks like this in the near future.”