Initiative helps secure $20m in contracts to support Māori and Pasifika businesses

By Jessica Tyson

Māori and Pasifika businesses in Auckland have secured more than $20 million worth of contracts thanks to a programme run by  Auckland Council.

The He Waka Eke Noa programme, run by the council’s innovation unit, The Western Initiative, helps the businesses participate in the tendering process, to win contracts and place staff in jobs in infrastructure and construction industries.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff says before the Covid-19 crisis and lockdowns, He Waka Eke Noa had helped to procure about $22 million worth of contracts and had 120 businesses on its books after two years of operation.

“Since the lockdown that’s nearly doubled another $20 million worth of contracts," Goff says.

“Around 500 jobs have been created by eight businesses registered with He Waka Eke Noa thanks to their securing contracts with the Link Alliance to carry out work on Auckland’s City Rail Link project.”

Auckland Council was the first organisation in the country to implement supplier diversity with Māori and Pasifika businesses and social enterprises.

Contracts secured

Goff says West Auckland businesses have won significant contracts including the Iconiq Group, which has won a significant contract to work on the City Rail Link and as a result will create more than 120 jobs.

Another business that has benefited is Passafe, a fire protection company, which has taken on nine new apprentices since the lockdown.

“These results demonstrate the success of the He Waka Eke Noa programme and speak to the economic and social benefits we can foster by supporting Māori and Pasifika entrepreneurship,” says Goff.

The council’s investment in He Waka Eke Noa when it was established in 2018 was $1.8 million in seed funding over two years. From the initial outlay of $275,000, some $40 million of contracts has been secured.

“It’s enabling the Māori and Pacifika community and businesses to become more actively involved in promoting their participation in this space in a really positive way.”