Challenges remain, but Māori business optimistic - report

By Will Trafford

Māori business leaders have seen their wellbeing decline since May, but they’re hopeful things are looking up in the lead to Christmas.

Data from the BDO Māori Business Sector Report 2022, which this year focuses on wellbeing says 54 per cent of Māori business leaders have been feeling less mentally healthy than normal.

The data is sourced by asking respondents how they feel about five hauora statements as they relate to work.

BDO Māori business sector leader Angela Edwards says cash flow was cited as the No. 1ecause for declining wellbeing, with 36 per cent of those who had been feeling less mentally healthy than normal citing it.

Covid-19 was the second biggest concern (35 per cent) and high workload was also an issue at 31 per cent.

Some 27 per cent of those feeling worse than usual said not having enough people to rely on for support was an issue, while business’ financial performance challenges ranked fifth at 26 per cent.

Despite the downturn, Edwards says there are reasons for optimism, with 83 per cent saying they expect to be upbeat about their business performance "all or most of the time" over the next six months, which is 16 per cent higher than the "whole-of-business" average. 

“There are some sectors that are doing particularly well, and this aligns with a lot of the funding that was provided during this year’s Budget. Iwi organisations that are working in social services, as well as health and social housing providers, are stepping up to meet the needs of our people,” Edwards says.

“In addition, Māori organisations have a strong base in primary producing, and those in food, farming and forestry continue to do well.”

Māori business leaders have a more positive outlook on future life satisfaction according to the survey results, with 80 per cent saying they expect to feel satisfied with life "all or most of the time" - 8 per cent higher than the whole-of-business average.

“I believe some of the optimism is driven by factors that are not just business-related. It comes from a change in perspective and te ao Māori being valued more,” Edwards says.

“We have seen a resurgence of te reo Māori, recognition of Matariki with a national public holiday, Aotearoa history being taught in schools and co-governance being implemented in government.” 

“These factors and more make for a brighter future in Aotearoa,” Edwards said.

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