Indigenous businesses promoted through new AT initiative

By Mare Haimona-Riki

A carpark and driveway are currently being constructed at Makaurau Marae and Kōhanga Reo in Ihumātao, South Auckland. This is part of the “Supplier Diversity” initiative being carried out by Auckland Transport that aims to help businesses owned by indigenous peoples, minority ethnic groups, women and social enterprises to be engaged in supply chains.

The construction at Makaurau Marae is under Lite Civil Limited, of which foreman Busby Leaf (Ngāpuhi) says is good to be working on a project that has cultural value.

“I’m proud to be working on a project that sees marae being upgraded, as many of our marae are in desperate need of that. It’s a good opportunity for our company to work directly for AT instead of seeing the work go to the normal big companies.”

In collaboration with He Waka Eke Noa - which facilitates relationships between businesses like AT and Māori and Pacific-owned businesses, the initiative seeks to “level the playing field” for small businesses owned by indigenous people for minority groups have fairer access to business and markets.  

Auckland Transport chief executive, Shane Ellison, says they are committed to supplier diversity to help create positive social and economic change for disadvantaged groups.

“It’s really important that we create job opportunities in areas of disadvantage to generate shared socio-economic prosperity for all Aucklanders.”

“This is even more important because we know historically economic shocks like Covid-19 are more likely to disproportionately impact vulnerable communities.  Supplier diversity will be a key part of AT’s recovery response to COVID-19,”  Ellison says.

More to come.